Diverticulitis Home Care
Home care for diverticulitis includes:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat a healthy heart diet:
- Do not delay bowel movements. If you feel like you need to go, do not put it off until later.
- Regular exercise program
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
- Acetaminophen for pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Take prescribed medications as directed:
For more information:
A person with diverticulitis may benefit from a high fiber diet.
Dietary fiber is a plant material that humans cannot digest. Fiber absorbs water, which keeps the stool soft and promotes rapid passage of material through the intestines. This may reduce exposure to toxic substances and improve the health of the intestines. Fiber also binds fat and cholesterol, and reduces the risk for heart disease. As an added benefit, high fiber foods usually contain important vitamins and minerals.
Fiber comes in two forms, based on whether it will dissolve in water. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. About 3/4 of fiber in the diet should be the insoluble fiber.
Water Soluble Fiber
|Pectins, gums, & mucilages||fruits, vegetables, oats, bran, barley, legumes|
|Cellulose, hemicellulose||vegetables, wheat bran, & whole grains|
Use of a High Fiber Diet
A healthy diet should include more than 25 grams of fiber each day.
A high fiber diet can prevent and treat the following:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Crohn's disease
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high in fiber, but peeling the skin from fruit and vegetables removes fiber. Dried fruits, beans, black-eyed peas, bran and oatmeal are high in fiber. Bran is the outer layer of the wheat grain.
Strategies for adding bran to the diet:
- Add 2-3 teaspoons of bran per serving, in order to increase the fiber content of casseroles, meat loaf, and baked goods.
- Use whole grain flour: it has 6 times the fiber of bleached flour.
- Use oat bran to replace 1/3 of the flour in recipes.
- Use fiber supplements, such as Citrucel and Metamucil.
Change your diet slowly. Rapid changes in the diet can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Example High-Fiber Diet
Eat 3 to 10 servings of whole grain food every day.
- Brown rice
- Oatmeal or oat bran
- Rye bread
- Wheat germ
- Whole grain bagels
- Whole grain breads
- Whole grain muffins
- Whole grain or bran cereals
- Whole grain pita bread
- Whole wheat crackers
- Whole wheat pasta
Eat 3-4 servings of fruit each day.
Eat at least 3-5 servings of raw, unpeeled vegetables per day.
- Green beans
- Green pepper
- Potatoes with skin
- Snow peas
- Sweet potatoes
Meat has no fiber, and contains cholesterol and saturated fat. Many high-fiber foods can replace meat in the diet.
- Brazil nuts
- Garbanzo beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Peanut butter
- Pinto beans
- Sesame seeds
- Soybeans, but not tofu
- Split peas
- Sunflower seeds
- Veggie burgers
Only very mild pain from diverticulitis can be treated at home.
General measures may include:
- Avoid aspirin, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
- Avoid enemas and laxatives.
- Try a heating pad or hot water bottle on the abdomen, or a warm bath.
- For nausea, take small but constant sips of water.
- Drink clear liquids only and avoid dairy products for 24 hours. Then slowly introduce other liquids and soups prior to returning to solid foods.
- Lie down and rest.
- Try an antacid medication such as Maalox or Mylanta.
- Take any prescribed medications as directed.
- Acetaminophen for pain
Diverticulitis Warning Signs
Notify your doctor if you have diverticulitis and any of the following:
Continue to Diverticulitis Prevention
- Hall NR. Managing diverticular disease. Practitioner. 2003 May;247(1646):392-6, 400, 402 passim. 
- Janes S, Meagher A, Frizelle FA. Elective surgery after acute diverticulitis. Br J Surg. 2005 Feb;92(2):133-42. 
- Pugliese R, Di Lernia S, Sansonna F, Scandroglio I, Maggioni D, Ferrari C, Costanzi A, Chiara O. Laparoscopic treatment of sigmoid diverticulitis: a retrospective review of 103 cases. Surg Endosc. 2004 Sep;18(9):1344-8. 
- Simpson J, Spiller R. Colonic diverticular disease. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):599-609.