Diverticulitis is a disease in which there is swelling or repeated infections of small pouches called diverticula which are formed abnormally in the walls of intestines. The exact cause of this condition remains elusive.
Common symptoms of diverticulitis are abdominal pain, bloating, blood in stools, and change in bowel habits, nausea and vomiting.
Treatment of diverticulitis involves a combination of medical therapy, surgery along with diet and nutritional modifications. Commonly used medicines are antibiotics and stool softeners and common diet modification is increment of liquids and a low fiber diet.
Recently there has been an upsurge in popularity of the diverticulitis diet.
A diverticulitis diet is not a treatment for the disease but gives the digestive system a chance to rest, as the constipation and straining during bowel movements can worsen the condition.
Sufferers may be recommended to eat a diet at home if the diverticulitis signs and symptoms are mild. Those experiencing worsening signs and symptoms or who can't keep liquids down may need to be hospitalized for diverticulitis treatment.
During initial attack of diverticulitis, stick to a clear liquid diet for two or three days. Foods and beverages allowed on a clear liquid diet include fruit juices without pulp, clear vegetable juices, soups, water, broth, milk, puddings, custards, ice cream.
Once signs and symptoms begin to resolve you may slowly introduce low-fiber foods. A gradual fiber increase will add bulk to the stool, allowing it to pass quickly and easily. Rapid fiber increase may result in gas, cramping, bloating, or diarrhea.
Low Residue (Fiber) Diet
Grain Products: Allowed: Refined white bread, buns, and cereals like cornflakes, arrowroot biscuits, pasta and white rice. Avoid: whole grains
Fruits and vegetables: Allowed: Fruits and cooked vegetables, milkshakes, potatoes (skin removed). Avoid: pulses, raw and dried fruits, raw vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale
Meat: Allowed: Well cooked, tender meat, fish and eggs. Avoid: Raw and half cooked meats
Dairy Products: Allowed: Milk, yogurt, cheese and as recommended by dietitians.
When symptoms of diverticulitis improve, you may ease off the above diet and gradually add more fiber back into your diet. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber each day.
High Residue (Fiber) Diet: As you increase your fiber intake, increase your fluid intake as well Allowed: Brown rice, Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes like lentils and pulses Whole-grain cereals that include wheat, bread, bran or oats.
If you are suffering from this condition then you should closely monitor your bowel movements and discuss any overt changes with your doctor. Regular health checkups will prevent complications. As well as diet management plays a pivotal role in controlling this disease and any dietary modifications should only be made after consultation with your dietician and your doctor.