The Best Home Remedies for Diverticulitis

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Diverticulitis is a disease of the digestive system. It occurs when small, bulging pouches called diverticula form in the lining of the digestive tract and become infected. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, fever, gas, bloating, hard stomach and diarrhea or constipation.

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The cause of diverticulitis is not entirely known, but several factors may contribute to it such as a low fiber diet, aging, physical inactivity, smoking, certain medications including steroids and NSAIDs, family history and obesity.

Without proper levels of fiber in the diet, stool sits in the colon for longer periods of time and may cause infection which can be local or may spread to the abdominal lining.

Antibiotics and surgery are available for treatment but it may be worth your time to try a few home remedies first as they are considered safer options.

Home Remedies for Diverticulitis

Eat a high fiber diet

Fiber may prevent or alleviate the symptoms of diverticulitis because it helps move stool through the colon. This is confirmed by a 2002 study published in the Canadian Family Physician Journal, which stated that a high fiber diet that is low in fat and red meat might help prevent diverticulitis.1

Diverticulitis treatment and prevention was associated with the insoluble compound of fiber, according to the study. There was also a high association between cellulose and a lower risk of diverticulitis.

The study found that caffeine and alcohol did not exactly increase the risk of developing the disease, and neither did obesity, but it might be a good idea to stay away from both.

Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green peas
  • Lima beans
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Ground flax seeds

Exercise

According to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, physical activity greatly reduces diverticulitis.2 This is because the up and down motion of exercise, particularly jogging, stimulated defecation.

Exercise may also decrease inner colonic pressure, which is common in diverticulitis due to the alteration in transit time of intestinal activity. Decreasing the transit time in the colon may prevent bacteria and other toxins from building up.

Exercise also releases a variety of hormones that can influence gastrointestinal movement and secretion.

Lastly, the study found that long-term exercise can protect the colon from bleeding associated with the disease as well as modulate inflammation and intestinal immune function.

Incorporating physical activities into your daily life is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health. To incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, try waking up early for a jog before starting your day.

You can also bike to work, join a gym or get your family involved in a group exercise class. If you’re short on time, try breaking your workout up into two 30 minute sessions; one before work and one after.

Digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements

You can optimize the efficiency of your digestive tract by taking supportive digestive aids such as digestive enzymes and probiotics (read my article about the 9 reasons to take probiotics).

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria found in our gut. They can help support immune health and move things along, so to speak.

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A 2010 study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases concluded that probiotics were effective in treating reoccurrence of the symptoms of diverticulitis, particularly in patients that experienced constipation.3

Digestive enzymes help break down nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The added help of digesting your food can greatly reduce the risk of infection. When foods are not properly digested, they can sit in the colon for longer periods of time and cause infection. Digestive enzymes also aid in the absorption of nutrients

Drink warm water

Undigested food particles are left in your digestive tract to collect bacteria and become inflamed. Cleansing out these food particles reduces your risk of developing diverticulitis and makes your digestive tract run more efficiently.

Although drinking cold water may taste better, this is not beneficial to the digestive process. Ayurvedic medicine states that drinking warm water in the morning helps to stimulate digestion. Susan E. Brown, PhD also states that drinking cold water with a meal can have adverse effects on the digestive process. It requires more energy from the body to warm up cool liquids and foods, thus taking a longer time to digest and assimilate.

Drinking warm water helps support the digestive process while keeping stool soft and easier to move through the colon. Try sipping warm water throughout the day as well as one cup at meal time to help with digestion.

You can find more information in my article: “which is better: drinking cold or warm water?”

Herbal remedies

Some herbs have soothing effects that can reduce inflammation or pain associated with diverticulitis.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, herbs can be used to treat diverticulitis by soothing mucus membranes and forming a protective layer over the infected areas.4 These include:

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– Slippery elm – it is also one of the best herbs for IBS.

– Wild yam – it is also one of the best herbs for liver health.

– Marshmallow – it also one of the best herbs for cleansing your kidneys.

– Chamomile – it is one of the top 10 herbs for a better digestion.

– Cat’s claw

– Licorice

You can use them as a dried extract, a tincture or in the form of tea.

Aloe vera heals the lining of the digestive tract and repairs it. It reduces irritation and helps with the healing of ulcers both in the stomach and the intestines (it is one of my 12 natural treatments for heartburn and stomach ulcers).  Aloe vera juice is recommended in the dosage of ¼ cup twice per day. It works by promoting defecation as well as coating the digestive tract with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Taking aloe vera right after meals may help promote digestion and soothe the digestive tract and it also has many other health benefits.

If you are interested in herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide which will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.

Supplements

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Glutamine and Omega 3 fatty can help to treat diverticulitis.4

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Glutamine is an amino acid found in the body that helps the intestine function properly and it may be beneficial for overall intestinal health. DO NOT take glutamine if you are diabetic or have seizures, liver disease, or a history of mania or manic episodes. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests a dosage of 400 mg, 4 times per day, between meals.4

Glutamine is also one of the best supplements for a leaky gut.

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, may help fight inflammation and it also has many other health benefits.

On the other hand, some omega-6 fatty acids, found in meats and dairy products, tend to increase inflammation.  If you have diverticulitis, eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, or take a supplement (1,000 mg, 1 to 2 times per day).4

DO NOT take high doses of a fish oil supplement if you are on blood-thinning medication unless supervised by your doctor. Omega-3 acids have a blood-thinning effect, and can increase the effect of blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin.4

Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Relax and chew your food

Especially while on the toilet, relaxing can promote a bowel movement. Additionally, straining while on the toilet can cause small tears in the colon, which can become infected when stool sits in the colon for too long.

Try elevating your feet on a stool while sitting on the toilet to reduce straining. It may also help to use the bathroom at the same time each day such as after eating a high-fiber breakfast. For more information read my article on why you should squat for a better digestive health.

Chewing your food until it is liquefied means that your colon does not have to work as hard to break it down. The more you can chew your food before it hits your colon, the better chance you have at absorbing nutrients and eliminating pain associated with breaking down tough food particles.

Diverticulitis – Precautions

Be sure to see a doctor if your symptoms persist or do not respond to these home remedies as this can be a sign of a greater problem.

Also, tell your doctor all the supplements you are taking in case they may interact with anything he or she gives you. Should you need to take an antibiotic, herbal remedies can interfere with the chemical components in these medications. They may also cause implications during surgery.

Read these related articles:
1. Leaky Gut: What It Is and How to Naturally Heal It
2. The Best Natural Laxatives For Constipation
3. 5 Reasons Your Digestive System Doesn’t Function Properly

Resources:
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3 Responses to The Best Home Remedies for Diverticulitis

  1. Beverly Duffy says:

    This article couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time for me! Thank you VERY much for publishing this. Your articles have been extremely helpful for me in relation to my health.

  2. Brenda Benn says:

    This information is really helpful, I am just getting over the affects of Diverticulitis after nearly 2 weeks, it’s very debilitating, so I MUST do the things mentioned in this article, it’s the best information I’ve seen so far. Thank you.

  3. Annette Krum says:

    suffered with this and IBS for years. finally prescribed dicyclomine which is helping me.

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