Diverticulitis: 9 Home Remedies and Natural Treatments

Specialty: Cardiology

Joel Kahn, MD is a practicing cardiologist and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Medical School and trained in interventional cardiolo... more

Diverticular diseases have seen a sheer increase in the number of cases over the last century. Recent studies indicate that 50% of people older than 60 years are affected by diverticular diseases with 10%- 25% developing diverticulitis (1). Diverticulitis develops due to the formation of infectious pouches on the colon which is associated with extreme discomfort and requires immediate medical intervention. In this article, we take a look at what diverticulitis is and the treatment options available.

What Is Diverticulitis?

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Diverticulitis is associated with the formation of diverticula, which are pouch- shaped formations that occur along your digestive tract. Diverticula most often occur in the colon, i.e., the large intestine.

These pouches are a result of weak spots in the intestinal walls that tend to blow outward. The pouches (diverticula) can become inflamed or infected by bacteria, thus causing diverticulitis.

Diverticula are harmless unless they are inflamed or infected. If you have developed diverticula that are not infected or inflamed, the condition is known as diverticulosis.

Lets take a quick look a the major differences between diverticulitis and diverticulosis.

Diverticulosis

Unlike diverticulosis, diverticulitis can cause mild to severe symptoms that can occur all of a sudden or gradually over a few days.

Signs And Symptoms

The common signs and symptoms associated with diverticulitis are:

  • Abdominal pain that typically occurs in the lower left side
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in the stool

Diverticulitis is caused by a combination of factors that are discussed below.

Causes And Risk Factors

The root cause of diverticulitis is the blockage of the opening diverticula. This blockage is usually triggered by the accumulation of fecal matter that leads to inflammation and subsequent infections.

Other factors associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis are:

  • A diet low in fiber
  • Heredity: A family history of the condition
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Regular use of certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin
  • A deficiency in vitamin D
  • Sex: In those aged 50 or younger, diverticulitis is more common in men, whereas, in those aged above 50, it is more common in women.
  • Advancing age

Since the symptoms of diverticulitis are similar to those of many other health conditions, your doctor may need to carry out one or more of the following tests to diagnose your condition.

How Is Diverticulitis Diagnosed?

You may be asked about your symptoms, medical history, and the medications you are on. Other diagnostic tests may include:

  • A physical exam to check the abdomen for tenderness
  • A digital rectal exam to look for symptoms of pain, bleeding, masses, or other problems

Other diagnostic tests that may need to be carried out include:

  • Blood tests to look for inflammation, anemia, or other medical conditions like kidney or liver problems
  • Imaging tests like an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan
  • Urine test to look for different types of infections
  • Stool test to check GI infections
  • Pelvic examination to rule out gynecological problems
  • Women may have to take a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy

Once your condition is diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe treatments depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Treatments For Diverticulitis

The treatment options for diverticulitis may include:

  • A clear liquid diet
  • A low-fiber diet
  • Medications for diverticulitis including antibiotics like Metronidazole, Ciprofloxacin, or Amoxicillin
  • Follow-up medical appointment to check if your symptoms have improved
  • Surgery for severe cases of diverticulitis

The symptoms of diverticulitis can usually be managed right at home in the initial stages. However, in rare cases, it can lead to complications, and those suffering from acute cases may need to be admitted in a hospital for treatment.

The home remedies that can help in managing the symptoms of diverticulitis are listed below.

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this mixture 1 to 2 times per day.

Why This Works

Slippery elm has demulcent properties that can help in relieving inflammation of the diverticula in your intestine (2).

What You Have To Do

Drink one to two tablespoons of fresh aloe vera juice daily.

Why This Works

Aloe vera is used to treat various health conditions due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties (3). These properties can help in soothing the inflamed and irritated diverticula along the digestive tract.

Why This Works

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing diverticulitis. Hence, maintaining optimal levels of serum vitamin D can also help you deal with the condition (4).

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink licorice tea 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Licorice is widely used to treat spasms and inflammation, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract (5). Hence, it can definitely work wonders when it comes to soothing the inflamed diverticula.

Why This Works

Grapefruit seed extract is a powerful antibacterial agent that can help in treating infected diverticula (6).

Why This Works

The rich composition of ginger makes it a beneficial remedy in treating various medical conditions. Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe an inflamed digestive tract and relax the muscles of the gut (7).

Why This Works

Garlic possesses impressive anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (8), (9). These activities might be helpful in treating diverticulitis and its symptoms.

Why This Works

Curcumin, the active compound of turmeric, possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (10), (11). These can help in reducing the inflammation and infection associated with diverticulitis.

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this concoction 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

ACV has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can be helpful in the treatment of diverticulitis (12).

These remedies will help in managing the symptoms of diverticulitis and lessen the pain. You must also pay attention to your diet as it has a major role to play in your recovery from diverticulitis.

How Does Your Diet Affect Diverticulitis?

A diverticulitis diet is usually a temporary measure that gives your digestive system some rest. Oral intake of eatables is usually reduced until the symptoms of bleeding and diarrhea subside.

Your doctor might prescribe you a clear liquid diet that includes the following.

Foods To Eat

Once your symptoms start improving, your doctor may ask you to begin intake of low-fiber foods gradually

They include:

  • Peeled fruits without seeds that are cooked or canned
  • Canned or cooked peeled vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and beans
  • Poultry
  • Fish Eggs
  • Fruit and vegetable juices (without pulp)
  • Low fiber cereals
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • White rice, pasta, and noodles

You also need to restrict your intake of certain foods if you are suffering from diverticulitis. These are foods that are difficult to digest.

Foods To Avoid

By now, you must have understood that one of the best ways to prevent diverticulitis from worsening is to modify your diet and lifestyle. Listed below are a few additional tips that can prevent the recurrence of diverticulitis.

Prevention Tips

Diverticulitis is characterized by inflammation in the pouches of the digestive tract. It causes extreme discomfort and requires immediate medical intervention. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea are the common symptoms of this condition. However, in addition to medication, you can also manage the symptoms with some natural remedies. Slippery elm, aloe vera juice, vitamin D, licorice root, and grape seed extracts are some effective remedies for treating diverticulitis. Consult your doctor before using any of these home remedies.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to see a doctor for diverticulitis?

If you feel that you are exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with diverticulitis, see a doctor and avail medical treatment immediately.

What does the pain that surfaces diverticulitis feel like?

The symptoms of diverticulitis can last anywhere from a few hours to days. Its most prominent symptom is severe pain (cramp) that is often felt on the lower left side of the abdomen.

How long does diverticulitis pain last?

The symptoms of diverticulitis, such as pain and cramps that occur in the lower left quadrant of the abdomen, can last for hours or even days.

Does diverticulitis cause diarrhea?

The inflammation of the diverticula that forms along the digestive tract can cause many symptoms and hardly subsides completely. This inflammation can cause constipation, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and bloating.

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