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Foods to Avoid in Diverticulitis

By Chelsea Fitzgerald ; Updated July 27, 2017

Diverticulitis can cause severe stomach problems. The pain can come on suddenly or gradually over a few days. Diverticulitis can be controlled through medications and by following a specific diet plan. There are certain foods that should be avoided with this disease; particularly during the acute phase.


According to the Mayo Clinic website, certain symptoms are common in those suffering from this disease; such as pain that fluctuates in intensity, diarrhea and changes in bowel habits, nausea, constipation and tenderness. Less common are bloating and bleeding from the rectal area.


Diverticulas develop when too much pressure is applied to the wall of the colon. Little pockets develop from this weakness in the outer lining.

Researchers are uncertain as to why this diverticulas begins, and causes extreme problems for some people, and is of little concern to others.


Some researchers feel that small obstructions may minimize blood flow to the area and cause the weakness. Others feel that the tiny openings in the diverticulum can trap feces, thus causing an infection.


In the article "Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis," the website Diverticulitisdiet.org implies that it is ironic that the same foods that can help prevent this disease, can be harmful while treating the acute stages.

Nuts, seeds and whole grain foods should be avoided during the inflamed and active stage of diverticulitis. These are the same foods that help to avoid the symptoms in the first place.

Spicy, hot dishes should be avoided by people with this disease. If you have ever eaten a meal with a lot of jalapenos, etc., and had a bowel movement the next day, you can certainly see why this would be avoided when you are having a diverticulitis attack. The last thing your inflamed bowel needs is further heat.

Strawberries are healthy, low calorie and rich in vitamins. Yet this delicious fruit can irritate an already inflamed bowel with its tiny, outer seeds.

Popcorn and corn are other healthy foods that while they are high in fiber, good for you, and prevent diverticulitis attacks, they often aggravate the already compromised bowel area during an attack. Therefore, follow a high fiber diet to prevent attacks, but avoid them while suffering from an attack.


Age is often thought to be an added risk in developing diverticulitis. Those under the age of 40 rarely develop this condition.

Diverticulitis is rarely found in countries that consume a high fiber diet. Fiber helps to keep the stools soft, thus lessening irritation of the colon.

Although the reasons why are not easily understood, obesity, and lack of exercise tend to be common traits of the person suffering from diverticulitis.


Diverticulitis can lead to peritonitis, a disease that is considered to be a medical emergency and requires urgent care.

Diverticulitis can also lead to intestinal blockage, an abscess, or fistula; all of which can be serious and need prompt medical attention.

A healthy diet, antibiotics, and rest are what are needed to keep mild cases in check. Surgery to remove a portion of the colon can be appropriate for those individuals suffering from chronic or more serious cases.

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