Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become inflamed or possibly infected. The diverticula are tiny pouches that may form in different part of the digestive system, but are most commonly found in the large intestine. According to the National Health Institutes, approximately 10 percent of all individuals over the age of 40 have diverticula present in their digestive systems. Often the diverticula never cause any problems at all, but when they do it called diverticulitis. This condition causes stomach pain, nausea and fever. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition; however, natural treatments may be effective for some people.
Consume a Liquid Diet when Flare-ups Occur
When diverticulitis occurs, you should consume a liquid diet for about three days in order to give the digestive system time to heal. After symptoms improve, gradually begin consuming solid foods such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits. To reduce the frequency and/or prevent future flare-ups, you should eat a high-fiber diet. A high-fiber diet helps waste move more quickly through the digestive tract, which reduces intestinal pressure that may lead to diverticulitis. Aim to eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day or take a fiber supplement. To prevent excess fiber from causing constipation, drink plenty of water.
The herbs known as Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile) and Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet) may help relieve inflammation and sooth the digestive system. Also, herbs known as Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm) and Sutherlandia frutescens (Cancer Bush) may help digestive irritation and pain. These herbal remedies should be available at a health food store.
Try to use the bathroom soon after you feel the urge. Delaying trips to the bathroom can cause stools to become harder and more difficult to pass. This increases the amount of pressure in the colon and contributes to the onset of diverticulitis. In addition, you should exercise regularly. Exercise helps by promoting healthy bowel function and by reducing the amount of pressure present in the colon. The Mayo Clinic recommends exercising 30 minutes per day. Also, you should avoid eating food items such as popcorn, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, caraway seeds and sesame seeds. These food items can irritate the diverticula and result in inflammation.