Living with Diverticulitis

People living with diverticulitis need to ensure that they eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Supplementation may also be required in some cases to allow the digestive system to heal and reduce the severity of the symptoms. The following approaches are helpful in achieving this:

  • Those who smoke should give up the habit as cigarette smoke can contribute to digestive problems. One should also avoid exposure to second hand smoke.
  • Your intake of caffeinated beverages should also be restricted, as excessive caffeine consumption can lead to abdominal discomfort and diarrhea in those with diverticulitis.
  • Essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in gastrointestinal system activity since they help to prevent inflammation and reduce the severity of diverticulitis symptoms. Fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and hence are a valuable addition to the diet. At least 3 to 4 servings of these fish may be consumed in a week. Those who are unable to eat fish may be advised to take a supplement.
  • Regular exercise helps to improve blood flow and lymph circulation, which allows the body to eliminate toxins easily. For this reason exercise is a must for those with digestive disorders.
  • Alcohol can cause irritation to the intestines and may interfere with the process of healing. Therefore people with diverticulitis should avoid consuming alcohol.
  • Foods that cause allergic reactions should be eliminated from your diet.
  • Organic foods are beneficial for individuals with diverticulitis as they do not contain any added chemicals or pesticides. This reduces the stress of detoxifying and filtering out contaminants in food during digestion. Organic foods also tend to have a higher nutritional value.
  • Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria which aid in the process of digestion and hence may help to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Stress hampers digestion and can aggravate the symptoms of diverticulitis. Therefore it is essential to manage stress effectively through relaxation, meditation or breathing exercises.
  • The efficiency of the digestive process is also greatly improved when you consume smaller meals through the course of the day, as opposed to consuming the regular two or three large meals. In individuals with diverticulitis, the digestive system is not able to handle large amounts of food and hence the symptoms worsen.
  • Fat soluble vitamins are known to be beneficial since diverticulitis hampers fat digestion. A general multivitamin is also important so that the body does not suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to impaired absorption. Amino acids such as glycine and taurine help to relieve inflammation caused by diverticulitis.
  • The herb slippery elm is known to be good for intestinal health as it enables the healing of the mucus lining of the intestines. This reduces the pressure within the intestines and allows them to heal a lot more rapidly.

Frequently asked questions
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  2. Wendy Sotheran, Asha Senapati, Diverticulitis and its Complications, Surgery (Oxford), Volume 20, Issue 7, 1 July 2002, Pages 164-169, ISSN 0263-9319, 10.1383/surg.
  3. John G. Touzios, Eric J. Dozois, Diverticulosis and Acute Diverticulitis, Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, Volume 38, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 513-525, ISSN 0889-8553, 10.1016/j.gtc.2009.06.004.
  4. Matilde Rodríguez-Cerrillo, Ana Poza-Montoro, Eddita Fernandez-Diaz, Amaia Iñurrieta Romero, Patients with uncomplicated diverticulitis and comorbidity can be treated at home, European Journal of Internal Medicine, Volume 21, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 553-554, ISSN 0953-6205, 10.1016/j.ejim.2010.09.002.