How do we define diverticulitis? What’s the difference between diverticulosis/diverticulitis? These are questions many of my friends, family and aquaintances have been asking me to investigate. Although it is not technically listed as an autoimmune disease, it does seem to relate very much in that poor diet plays a large role in the development of diverticulosis which leads to diverticulitis. So that’s how we define diverticulitis. Let’s talk about what you can do if you are diagnosed with it!
How Do You Get Diverticulitis?
When you consistently eat a diet that is low in fiber diverticula (pouches that form in weakened areas of the colon) develop. These pouches develop because fiber helps to bulk up stool which keeps the colon from straining. A diet without fiber causes the colon to work harder and the walls of the colon weaken. That’s how these pockets are formed. Once formed, it is very easy for bile to get into them and infection to occur.
Symptoms can range anywhere from stomach pain, bloating and gas to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea or constipation and even fever. You may find that you have no appetite.
How To Treat Diverticulitis
When these symptoms occur and you are having an episode of diverticulitis you should immediately go to a liquid, low-fiber diet. Seems strange, huh? Low-fiber put you here and, yet, low-fiber will help you out? Strange, yes, but true. You should stay on this diet for at least 3-4 days to give your colon a chance to heal. Sometimes this will be enough. You should be drinking plenty of water and you can make bone broth for good nourishment. Stay away from anything with sugar in it.
Foods You Should Definitely Avoid:
After a few days you can introduce fiber back into your diet very slowly. Begin with white bread and eggs. Then add meats and dairy.
You will then want to work back up to eating a high fiber diet. You should eat a minimum of 25-35 grams of fiber daily.
High Fiber Foods
Whole grains ( Quinoa, pasta, cereal, bran, oats, brown and black and wild rice)
Beans (Black, red, kidney, garbanza, canneloni, etc)
Fresh fruit (Apples, pears, prunes, berries, raisins)
Veggies (Squash, Sweet potatoes, peas, spinach)
Fermented foods (Kefir, Kimchi)
Also add yogurt with live, active cultures
Herbs and Supplements
Always check with your health care professional before adding herbs and supplements.
Probiotics can help once you are no longer in an active episode. You can start with prebiotics such as olive leaf complex or oregano oil and then switch over to probiotics as you continue to improve.
Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil supplements. Check with your health care professional as less should be taken when on blood thinners.
Ground flaxseed is a good source of added fiber.
Blackberry root can be helpful for diarrhea and internal bleeding.
Licorice Root is a good herb to reduce spasms and lower stomach acid levels. Do not use over long periods of time or if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney disease or hypokalemia.
Slippery elm is demulcent and promotes healing.
I hope I have helped you to define diverticulitis and given you some helpful suggestions for how to deal with it. Please comment below and let me know your experience with this illness and whether this information was helpful to you.