Diverticulitis Home Remedies

If I had a beer for every person who has come up to me at a lecture and told me he was treated for diverticulitis—an intestinal condition that causes pain, bloating, nausea, and possibly fever—and wished he knew how to prevent it from happening again, I would have at least five cases of free beer by now! The secret is fiber and conventional medicine! Fiber is one of the only supplements that can potentially reduce the risk of another attack. There’s also research suggesting that combining fiber with some drugs (such as rifaximin) might reduce the risk of another attack better than taking either fiber or the drug alone. And since it can lower the risk of heart disease, fiber should always be a part of your diet anyway. Heart healthy = gut healthy, folks! (You had to know that was coming.)

Diverticu losis occurs when small “pockets” form in the wall of the bowel, usually in the last part of the colon (sigmoid), right before the rectum. I call it small pouch syndrome of the colon, or SPSC, because I like to come up with ridiculous names like this when I’m writing. Many folks find out they have this condition as they get older and have procedures like colonoscopies and CT scans, but it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms; rarely people experience bleeding, bloating, cramps, and changed bowel habits.

Only about 10 to 20 percent of these pockets of diverticulosis ever turn into diverticulitis, which happens when the area becomes infected and inflamed. Some people call it left-sided appendicitis because the pain happens in the lower left abdomen (and appendicitis is in the lower right); there’s usually fever present too. Doctors typically prescribe a combination of antibiotics (like ciprofloxacin and metronidazole) and a liquid diet to soothe the bowel.

But some people get these attacks over and over again, to the point where the colon is damaged enough to warrant surgery before it tears or perforates, leading to a life-threatening infection. The goal here is to prevent an attack so you never have to worry about surgery. (Ask your doctor about the latest preventive drugs, such as mesalamine or rifaximin, if you’re at risk of another attack.)

Diverticulitis Home Remedies

Fiber

Getting 20 to 30 grams a day from food is key, and adding a fiber powder supplement to help you get there is a good idea. Get 5 to 10 grams of your daily total from psyllium or inulin, or even from another over-the-counter product like methyl-cellulose, which has been tested in some diverticulitis patients.

Probiotics

These may help because the damaged microenvironment of the colon, including abnormal gut bacteria, can increase chronic inflammation and make the disease worse. Some probiotic studies reported less abdominal pain, bloating, and fever but no significant reduction in recurrence rates. More research is needed to uncover whether they work better than a placebo.

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