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- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
- MedlinePlus: Diverticulitis
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One in 10 Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulosis. Most medical experts think a low-fiber diet causes diverticulosis by creating small pouches in the wall of the large intestine, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 2. When these pouches become inflamed, that acute disorder is known as diverticulitis 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Some people with diverticulosis remain symptom-free, but others complain of abdominal cramping, bloating and constipation. Diverticulitis can cause:
- sudden severe pain or tenderness in your lower left abdomen
- changes in your bowel movements 1
The type of food you eat helps determine the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
Metamucil & Diverticulitis
Your physician will recommend a high-fiber diet for long-term management of your diverticulosis and prevention of diverticulitis episodes 13. When you experience symptoms of diverticulitis, the doctor may advise you to change to a clear liquid diet for two to three days, says MedlinePlus 1. After your symptoms improve, you can slowly introduce low-fiber foods while watching for new or worsening symptoms.
Fiber refers to the portions of fruits, vegetables and grains that your body can’t digest. White rice has been processed to remove some of the undigestable portions, so it qualifies as a low-fiber food that’s safe to eat after your diverticulitis symptoms begin to improve 1. Brown and wild rice, however, contain significant amounts of fiber. Avoid these types of rice until your diverticulitis attack is over and you’re back on your regular diverticulosis diet 1.
Oatmeal & Digestion
Undigested fiber creates residue that combines with waste products in your intestines to form stools, or bowel movements. Low-fiber foods like white rice provide enough residue to create soft stools that pass through your intestines easily and allow your bowel to colon to heal from the diverticulitis 1.
Drink plenty of fluids so your colon can combine fiber residue and water into soft, formed stools. If you notice that your diverticulitis gets worse when you add low-fiber foods like white rice, notify your doctor 1. He or she may want to admit you to the hospital for more intensive treatment.
Metamucil & Diverticulitis
Oatmeal & Digestion
Are Rice & Beans Good for Constipation?
Low-Fiber Diet for Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis Flare-Up Symptoms
Lentil Soup for Constipation
What Should a Diabetic & Diverticulitis Patient Eat?
How to Reintroduce Solid Foods Into a Diet
Can You Eat Celery & Almonds If You Have Diverticulosis?
Psyllium Husks and Diverticulitis
- MedlinePlus: Diverticulitis
- Drugs.com: Low-Fiber Diet
- Drugs.com: High-Fiber Diet
- Nallapeta NS, Foris LA, Tuma F, et al. Diverticulosis. In: StatPearls. Updated December 13, 2019.
- Carabotti M, Annibale B. Treatment of diverticular disease: an update on latest evidence and clinical implications. DIC. 2018;7:1-11. doi:10.7573/dic.212526
- University of California, San Francisco Health. Diverticular disease and diet.
- American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Diverticular disease expanded version.
- Rezapour M, Ali S, Stollman N. Diverticular disease: An update on pathogenesis and management. Gut Liver. 2018;12(2):125-132. doi:10.5009/gnl16552
- Strate LL, Keeley BR, Cao Y, Wu K, Giovannucci EL, Chan AT. Western dietary pattern increases, and prudent dietary pattern decreases, risk of incident diverticulitis in a prospective cohort study. Gastroenterology. 2017;152(5):1023-1030.e2. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2016.12.038
- Dahl C, Crichton M, Jenkins J, et al. Evidence for dietary fibre modification in the recovery and prevention of reoccurrence of acute, uncomplicated diverticulitis: A systematic literature review. Nutrients. 2018; 10(2):137-. doi:10.3390/nu10020137
- Eglash A, Lane CH. What is the most beneficial diet for patients with diverticulosis? J Fam Pract. 2006 September;55(9):813-814.
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020.
- Barroso AO, Quigley EM. Diverticula and diverticulitis: time for a reappraisal. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2015;11(10):680-8.
- Strate LL, Morris AM. Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of diverticulitis. Gastroenterology. 2019;156(5):1282-1298.e1. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2018.12.033
- Okawa Y, Fukudo S, Sanada H. Specific foods can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and functional constipation: a review. BioPsychoSocial Med. 2019;13:10. doi:10.1186/s13030-019-0152-5
- NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Eating, diet, & nutrition for diverticular disease. Updated May 2016.
- HealthLink BC. Healthy eating guidelines for people with diverticular disease. Updated April 2019.
- Severi C, Carabotti M, Cicenia A, Pallotta L, Annibale B. Recent advances in understanding and managing diverticulitis. F1000 Res. 2018;7:971-. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14299.1
- Dashti HS, Mogensen KM. Recommending small, frequent meals in the clinical care of adults: a review of the evidence and important considerations. Nutr Clin Pract. 2016;32(3):365-377. doi:10.1177/0884533616662995
- Harvard T.H. Chan. Carbohydrates and blood sugar.
- Today’s Dietician. Fiber & irritable bowel syndrome – strategies for counseling patients. Updated August 2016.
- McRorie, JW. Evidence-based approach to fiber supplements and clinically meaningful health benefits, part 2. Nutrition Today. 2015;50(2):90-97. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000089
- Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Low fiber diet for diverticulitis. Updated January 2014.
- Abdullah MMH, Gyles CL, Marinangeli CPF, Carlberg JG, Jones PJH. Dietary fibre intakes and reduction in functional constipation rates among Canadian adults: a cost-of-illness analysis. Food & Nutrition Research. 2017;59(1):28646. doi:10.3402/fnr.v59.28646
- The Oregon Clinic. BRAT diet for nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Uno Y, Velkinburgh JCv. Logical hypothesis: low FODMAP diet to prevent diverticulitis. WJGPT. 2016;7(4):503-512. doi:10.4292/wjgpt.v7.i4.503
- Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publishing. Diverticular disease prevention and treatment. Updated February 2011.
- Ünlü C, Daniels L, Vrouenraets B, Boermeester M. A systematic review of high-fibre dietary therapy in diverticular disease. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2011;27(4):419-427. doi:10.1007/s00384-011-1308-3
- Weir SBS, Akhondi H. Bland Diet. In:StatPearls. Updated March 9, 2019.
Sandy Keefe, M.S.N., R.N., has been a freelance writer for over five years. Her articles have appeared in numerous health-related magazines, including "Advance for Nurses" and "Advance for Long-Term Care Management." She has written short stories in anthologies such as "A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Special Needs."