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Some people follow specific diets to help ease the symptoms of diverticulitis, while others use home remedies.
Diverticulitis is an inflammatory condition of the digestive tract.
Small pouches called diverticula can form in the large intestine. This condition is called diverticulosis. If these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition becomes known as diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis can be painful and may lead to complications. A person who has the condition will often find that certain foods aggravate their symptoms.
This article looks at eight potential home remedies for diverticulitis, as well as some complications of the condition and when to see a doctor.
A doctor may recommend a temporary liquid diet to someone experiencing a flare-up of symptoms. Some foods and drinks that people can prepare at home for a liquid diet include:
- water, coffee, and tea without milk
- strained fruit juices with no pulp, such as white grape or apple juice
- soft drinks or sports drinks
- chicken or beef broth
- ice popsicles with no fruit pulp or pieces
- Jell-O without fruit
People should only follow a liquid diet for as long as their doctor recommends. This is to ensure that they do not miss out on essential nutrients.
As the symptoms ease, a doctor will recommend gradually reintroducing solid foods to the diet.
Adopting a low fiber diet can also help ease diverticulitis symptoms.
Some low fiber foods include:
- cooked or canned fruits without seeds or skins
- well-cooked vegetables without seeds or skins
- dairy products
- white bread
- white pasta
- white rice
- well-cooked or ground meat
- low fiber cereals
Symptoms will usually improve within around 2–4 days, after which point a person can try gradually adding small amounts of fiber again.
Unless someone is experiencing a symptom flare-up, doctors recommend that people with diverticulitis include fiber in their diets.
Fiber can help prevent constipation. If a person is straining to pass a stool, this may cause bulging in the large intestine, increasing the likelihood that a pouch will form.
It is also important to drink enough water to keep the stool soft and easy to pass.
- vegetables, including potatoes, green peas, cabbage, and squash
- fruits, including apples, pears, avocados, and bananas
- grains, including wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, and barley
- high fiber cereals, including bran and oats
- beans and pulses, including chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas
The recommended allowance of vitamin D for adults is 15 micrograms per day. The following sections will discuss some ways a person can obtain vitamin D.
Some food sources of vitamin D include:
- fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel
- beef liver
- some mushrooms, including those grown under UV light
- fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, plant milks, and margarine
Most people get some of their daily vitamin D allowance through sun exposure. UV light converts compounds in the skin into vitamin D.
The liver and fat cells also store vitamin D to use later on, when light levels are lower.
Although sunlight helps the body create vitamin D, people should still protect themselves from sun damage by using sunscreen and avoiding UV radiation from tanning beds.
A person can also take vitamin D as a supplement to top up their levels. This may help when light levels are low during the winter months. It may also help people who do not eat many vitamin D-rich foods.
Vitamin D supplements come in two forms: D-2 (ergocalciferol) and D-3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D-2 may be less potent than D-3 at higher doses, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Some people get relief from painful stomach cramps by applying heat. Different types of heat pad that people can try include:
- electric heat pads
- microwaveable heat pads
- hot water bottles
To prevent burns, people should set electric devices to a low setting and cover hot water bottles with a towel.
Probiotics contain beneficial species of gut bacteria. In some cases, they can also help with digestive conditions.
One 2016 review suggests that probiotics may reduce symptoms and recurrence in diverticular disease. However, there is not yet enough evidence to prove that probiotics are an effective treatment for diverticulitis.
People can try a probiotic supplement or fermented foods that contain probiotics. Some fermented foods include:
- live yogurt
When trying probiotics or probiotic foods for the first time, it is a good idea to test them out in small amounts. People tolerate different foods and probiotic strains differently.
Sometimes, probiotics can also cause side effects, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers. This might help alleviate pain due to diverticulitis.
Low-to-medium impact exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, according to one 2019 review. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggest these forms of moderate intensity exercise:
- brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
- water aerobics
- cycling (slower than 10 miles per hour)
Exercise can also help prevent constipation.
Herbs and spices that have anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial properties may benefit people with diverticulitis.
However, because there is a lack of research on how these work for people with diverticulitis, it is unclear how effective they are for this condition.
Herbal remedies can interact with medications, so it is important that people check with a medical professional before trying a new product.
People can consume herbs and spices as a food or as a supplement. For example:
- Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has anti-inflammatory properties. It is possible to consume frankincense resin as a supplement in tablet or tincture form.
- Garlic has natural antimicrobial properties due to one of its active compounds, allicin.
- Curcumin is the anti-inflammatory agent in the spice turmeric. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, and a person can consume it in fresh root, dried spice, or tablet form.
Garlic can be helpful as an ingredient in meals, but it is high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). FODMAPs are carbohydrates that can cause digestive symptoms in some people. For these people, a pure allicin supplement may be easier to tolerate.
Diverticulitis symptoms can come on suddenly and cause pain. Sometimes, the condition can cause serious complications, which include:
If a person’s symptoms get worse, they should see their doctor. Sometimes, the condition requires emergency treatment at a hospital.
Symptoms that may require medical attention include:
- a fever or high temperature
- blood in the feces or bleeding from the anus
- constant or severe pain in the abdomen
Home remedies for diverticulitis can help people manage their condition. The treatments they use will depend on what works best for them and whether or not they are taking medications that could cause interactions.
Diet, exercise, and exposure to sunlight all play a part in relieving the symptoms and flare-ups associated with diverticulitis.
People with diverticulitis should seek advice from their doctor before trying any new home remedies. If a person has symptoms of any complications, they should seek medical attention.
Shop FOR HOME REMEDIES
People can buy many of the home remedies listed above online: