Acute Diverticulitis Diet
by Brad McHargue
For some, the lining of the digestive system can develop small pouches known as diverticula, a condition known as diverticulosis. These pouches can become inflamed, which is a condition known as diverticulitis. Acute diverticulitis is a form of the condition that is sudden and typically does not recur (chronic). Although a specific diet can't cure or prevent the condition, it can alleviate symptoms such as pain, bloating and nausea, and allow time for your digestive system to rest while it is being treated.
When faced with a flare-up of diverticulitis, you should limit yourself to an all-liquid diet for two to three days until symptoms subside. Examples include water, broth, juices (frozen or liquid and without pulp), gelatin, clear sodas and coffee (without cream) and tea. As your symptoms begin to subside, slowly introduce fiber into the diet through low-fiber foods such as smooth peanut butter, eggs, plain pasta, yogurt and thoroughly cooked vegetables without seeds and skin, among others.
Consuming too much fiber at once can lead to bloating and gas, as well as an increased risk of frequent bowel movements and diarrhea, which can exacerbate the diverticulitis symptoms, such as pain and abdominal pressure.
Once your symptoms have subsided completely and the healing process has begun, high-fiber foods such as whole grains, legumes such as beans, wild rice and vegetables can be reintroduced into the diet. Start off slow, and as your body begins to adjust to the increased amount of fiber, you can add more. If you're a woman, attempt to consume approximately 25 grams of fiber a day, and 38 grams if you're a man. Adequate amounts of fiber assist in the formulation of softer and more streamlined stools, allowing them to pass easier and with the bare minimum of irritation.
When consuming lots of fiber, always be sure to drink adequate amounts of water, as fiber uses up water to contribute to the softness and bulkiness of stools. If you feel weak while on an all-liquid diet, consult with your doctor on the best way to introduce the essential vitamins and nutrients you might not be receiving on this diet. One possible way to counter the loss of vitamins and nutrients, which can occur while on the all-liquid diet or through frequent diarrhea, is by taking a daily multivitamin.