Dietary Modification

Treatment of Diverticulitis

An initial episode of acute diverticulitis is usually treated with conservative medical management, including bowel rest (ie, nothing by mouth), IV fluid resuscitation, and broad-spectrum antibiotics which cover anaerobic bacteria and gram-negative rods. However, recurring acute attacks or complications, such as peritonitis, abscess, or fistula may require surgery, either immediately or on an elective basis.

Upon discharge patients may be placed on a low residue diet. This low-fiber diet gives the colon adequate time to heal without needing to be overworked. Later, patients are placed on a high-fiber diet. There is some evidence this lowers the recurrence rate.

In some cases surgery may be required to remove the area of the colon with the diverticuli. Patients suffering their first attack of diverticulitis are typically not encouraged to undergo the surgery, unless the case is severe. Patients suffering repeated episodes may benefit from the surgery. In such cases the risks of complications from the diverticulitis outweigh the risks of complications from surgery.

Alternative treatments

Dietary modification

Dietary modification may reduce the symptoms of the disease.

high-fiber diet and, occasionally, mild pain medications will help relieve symptoms in most cases.  Sometimes an attack of diverticulitis is serious enough to require a hospital stay and possibly surgery.

Avoidance of nuts, popcorn, and sunflower, pumpkin, caraway, and sesame seeds has been recommended by physicians out of fear that food particles could enter, block, or irritate the diverticula. However, no scientific data support this treatment measure. Eating a high-fiber diet is the only requirement highly emphasized across the literature and eliminating specific foods is not necessary. The seeds in tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, and raspberries, as well as poppy seeds, are generally considered harmless. People differ in the amounts and types of foods they can eat. Decisions about diet should be made based on what works best for each person. Keeping a food diary may help identify individual items in one’s diet.

If cramps, bloating, and constipation are problems, the doctor may prescribe a short course of pain medication. However, many medications affect emptying of the colon, an undesirable side effect for people with diverticulosis.

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant is believed by many to be one of nature’s most incredible byproducts.  It has been used for many years around the house to treat cuts and burns, and has been incorporated into countless of commercial products such as lip-balm, shampoo, and sunscreen/sunburn lotions.  However, there exists a concentrated powdered extract from aloe called aloe mucilaginous polysaccharide. It is used to treat auto-immune disorders and diseases.   Particularly those in the digestive tract.

Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharides can be used to help treat diverticulitis.  Aloe mucilaginous polysaccharides are long-chain sugar molecules composed of individual mannose and glucose sugar molecules connected together — which have been attributed to subduing and reducing symptoms associated with UC.

The AMP molecule is extracted from the aloe plant in a controlled environment.  To get the highest refinement of AMP, lyophilization must be used to preserve the varying sizes of molecules that contain these potent healing properties.  Unfortunately, there are few manufacturers that offer the freeze-dried extracted form of AMP as it is expensive to manufacture.   To learn more about lyophilization, read this article: Processing of Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharides.

SEROVERA® AMP 500 is currently the only vendor of freeze-dried AMP.

Points to Remember

  • Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches, called diverticula, bulge outward through weak spots in the colon (large intestine).
  • The pouches form when pressure inside the colon builds, usually because of constipation.
  • Most people with diverticulosis never have any discomfort or symptoms.
  • The most likely cause of diverticulosis is a low-fiber diet because it increases constipation and pressure inside the colon.
  • For most people with diverticulosis, eating a high-fiber diet is the only treatment needed.
  • You can increase your fiber intake by eating these foods: whole grain breads and cereals; fruit like apples and peaches; vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, asparagus, and squash; and starchy vegetables like kidney beans and lima beans.
  • Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches become infected or inflamed and cause pain and tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen.

Additional Resources for Diverticulitis