Diverticulitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, and the symptoms of diverticulitis are painful and uncomfortable. Small pouches may form on the large intestine that becomes infected or inflamed, which is what ultimately leads to this condition.
Diverticulitis is a type of colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease. If it isn’t treated or eased, it can lead to serious complications that may require surgery.
As mentioned before, the symptoms of diverticulitis are painful. They are easy to identify, though, if you know what you are looking for. Although you may already suspect this is what you are suffering from, you should always get a professional diagnosis.
Once you know the symptoms, it’s important to know how to beat it. If you suffer from this condition, learning to alleviate the symptoms is essential.
The Seven Primary Symptoms of Diverticulitis
- Constant pain for several days – most often in the lower left side of the abdomen, but sometimes it is more painful on the right side.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness of the abdomen
- Cramping that goes away after you have a bowel movement or pass gas
- Bright red blood in your stool
Diverticulitis Risk Factors
Below are a few factors which increase the odds of developing this condition:
- Aging, those over the age of 40 are most at risk
- Sedentary lifestyle
- A diet high or low in fiber
- Use of medications such as steroids, opioids, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium
Natural Remedies to Ease the Symptoms of Diverticulitis
Want to know how you can deal with diverticulitis? You might consider these useful home remedies.
1 – Liquid Diet
When symptoms flare up, it was recommended that you take on a liquid diet. This doesn’t mean you can only drink water, luckily. Some of your liquid diet food and drink options include:
- fruit juice with no pulp
- soft drinks
- sports drinks
- chicken or beef broth
- popsicles with no fruit pieces
- gelatin without added fruit pieces
Once you have been on a liquid diet, it’s important to gradually ease back into solid foods. It’ll cause the symptoms to flare up again if you don’t do it gradually.
2 – Follow Fiber Intake Guidelines
It’s important to have a healthy amount of this nutrient in your diet. Consuming too much or not enough can cause symptom flare-ups or the worsening of symptoms. There is a very fine line that you have to be careful not to cross.
According to the Institute of Medicine, a person should consume between 19 and 28 grams each day. The exact amount will depend on your age and gender. On average, it is 15 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed.
If your intake is too high, you will need to adopt a diet that has less of this nutrient. Some of the foods you can choose that are low in fiber include:
- fruits without seeds or skin
- cooked vegetables without seeds or skin
- dairy products
- white bread, pasta, or rice
- specialty cereal
- cooked red meat
Remember, even if you are trying to reduce your fiber intake, you still need a healthy amount of this nutrient. Without enough, you could become constipated, which causes bulging on the intestine. This could increase the chances that an inflamed pouch will form.
So, if you need to consume more than you currently do, you’ll need to find foods that contain more. Some of the most common high-fiber foods include the following options:
- vegetables with the skin
- fruits with the skin
- high-fiber cereal
3 – Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
Research published by the National Institutes of Health shows that higher Vitamin D levels can help with symptoms of diverticulitis. Those who do not consume enough Vitamin D will find their symptoms are worse. It is recommended that adults consume around 15 micrograms per day, and many people fall short of the goal.
You can increase your vitamin D levels through sun exposure, but make sure you use a sunscreen with SPF. Or, you can increase your daily intake of vitamin D by eating the following foods:
- fatty fish
- Vitamin D fortified foods such as cereal, milk, margarine, or orange juice
4 – Use a Heating Pad
When the symptoms of diverticulitis become painful, you can apply a heating pad to help. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can use a hot water bottle instead.
Make sure you use a low setting on an electric heat pad to prevent burns. If you are using a hot water bottle, place a towel around it.
5 – Exercise More
There are a couple of reasons that getting more exercise can help remedy the painful symptoms. The first reason is that exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
Another reason is that exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, which was proven in a 2019 study. You should get at least two and a half hours of exercise each week for it to be effective.
Exercise doesn’t have to be terrible. There are many fun activities you can choose to help you reach your exercise goals. These include:
- water aerobics
- gardening or another form of yard work
- playing tennis
- riding a bike
6 – Drink Water
As stated before, having a healthy intake of fiber is important when it comes to this condition. Well, water is just as important because it works with the essential nutrient.
With fiber and water together, your stool will become soft and bulky, making it easier to pass through your colon. If you don’t drink enough water, the nutrient can cause you to become constipated instead of working in your favor.
7 – Lose Weight
Being obese can increase your chances of developing diverticulitis. Plus, being overweight can make symptoms worse.
Those who are obese have more adipose tissue, which puts out cytokines, causing inflammation. Obese people also tend to have intestinal microflora, which plays a role in the development of this condition.
8 – Avoid Foods that Make it Worse
Those who suffer from diverticulitis often have certain foods that will make their symptoms worse. Some of the foods that harm one person may not affect another. So, keep track of what you’ve eaten to help narrow it down when a flare-up occurs.
While the foods that cause flare-ups differ for everyone, certain foods are often the culprits. These foods include:
- certain fruits including apples, pears, and plums
- fermented foods including sauerkraut and kimchi
- brussels sprouts
9 – Use Probiotics
Offering good bacteria, probiotics help keep your digestive tract healthy. You can get probiotics in capsule form, as a tablet, or in powder form. Probiotics are also found in yogurt, so if dairy products don’t negatively affect you, yogurt is a good option.
10 – Drink Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera can help prevent constipation. It also can relieve pain and ease cramping, both of which are symptoms of diverticulitis. Just two ounces a day can help you beat the condition.