Diverticulitis, inflammation of small pockets within the digestive tract walls, can require medications or surgery. If the condition remains fairly mild, however, it is possible to ease symptoms and even eliminate inflammation with at-home remedies found in the cupboard or an aisle of the health food store. In addition to soothing symptoms during a flare-up, home remedies can help reduce the occurrence of diverticulitis episodes in the first place.
Probiotics are good bacteria, and our stomach and intestines need them to stay healthy. When we experience periods of extreme stress or take antibiotics, the number of good bacteria in our bodies decreases. This can cause many issues including allowing inflammation-causing microbes to collect in the diverticula. Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, sour cabbage, and buttermilk can replenish depleted stores of probiotics.
Chamomile tea may help reduce intestinal inflammation and the muscle cramping that some people with diverticulitis experience. Fresh chamomile leaves may work better than dried chamomile tea bags -- they can be prepared in the same way as the prepared version. Note that pregnant women, people with ragweed allergies, and those on blood thinners should not drink chamomile tea. If you take any medication or have an existing health condition, talk to your physician before using home remedies.
Glutamine is an amino acid supplement that helps the intestines work more efficiently. There is no evidence that glutamine reduces the symptoms of diverticulitis, although research suggests it may improve intestinal health. Talk to your physician before taking supplemental glutamine. People who have had this supplement approved by their doctor find it most effective to take 400mg of glutamine, four times a day. Glutamine is not recommended for people with diabetes, epilepsy, or liver disease.
People who regularly practice meditation may find a focused sit can help reduce some of the pain associated with diverticulitis. Those new to the practice who would like to see if it works for them can start by simply finding a calm, quiet place and taking slow, deep breaths. Counting makes it easier at the beginning; inhale for 10 seconds, hold the breath in for 10 seconds, and exhale for 10 seconds. Stress can aggravate diverticulitis, and full-body relaxation can help mitigate this effect.
Heat provides relief from cramping during an attack of diverticulitis. Place a hot water bottle or compress on the stomach while lying on your back. Applying heat patches that adhere to the skin can also alleviate pain when you don't have time to lie down.
Garlic effectively fights infection, so aim to eat a clove several times a day. If you can't stomach the taste of garlic on its own, chop it up and add it to a salad or sandwich spread instead. However, when aiming to reduce diverticulitis symptoms, do not cook the garlic, as this diminishs its illness-fighting effects. Garlic is also a prebiotic food that helps restore health-promoting bacteria to the intestinal tract.
There is a clear link between lack of exercise and increased risk of diverticular disease, so try to find some time every day to do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise. Choosing something enjoyable will make it easier to stick with the routine on days when motivation or energy is low.
Ground flaxseed is rich in fiber, which serves as a stool softener. This makes the passing of bowel movements faster and easier on the digestive system, thus reducing strain. Most adults should aim to consume 15 grams of ground flaxseed per day. You can add the nutrient to salad, porridge, yogurt, or other dishes easily without any significant change in flavor, but a big change in digestive health.
Some research suggests that red meat can weaken the walls of the colon. This, in turn, can lead to the development of diverticular pouches. One study found that substituting fish or poultry for red meat was linked with a 20% reduction in the incidence of diverticular disease. There is no need to cut red meat out of the diet entirely, as the protein it provides is quite beneficial. However, it is best to minimize consumption to at most a few servings per week.
Healthy bowel habits are essential when it comes to dealing with diverticulitis and reducing flare-ups. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day, and try to keep regular meal times. The more consistent meal times remain, the easier it is for the digestive system to process everything. People who have had diverticulitis issues in the past, especially, should try not to strain to pass bowel movements, as this can put added pressure on the walls of the lower intestinal tract.
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that can help reduce pain, including the painful cramping people with diverticulitis often experience. After assessing a client's needs during the first visit, the practitioner will develop a customized treatment plan to target his or her specific issues. In addition to managing the pain of diverticulitis, acupuncture may also help to reduce swelling, ease stiffness, and calm muscle soreness.
Fiber increases the bulk and amount of material that passes through the bowels. Normally, this is a good thing, but during a diverticulitis attack, it can cause further irritation. Therefore, it is best to reduce fiber consumption during an attack. Once the attack has passed, the individual can once again increase fiber to maintain optimal digestive health.
There is no consensus as to which foods people prone to diverticulitis should exclude from their diets, as each person responds to various foods differently. If possible, a person experiencing diverticulitis should think back to foods they have recently eaten and try excluding some or all of them one by one. Some doctors used to recommend avoiding seeds, corn, and nuts, as all of these foods can become lodged in diverticular pouches, leading to inflammation and pain. However, recent research doesn't support the idea that these foods worsen diverticulitis or trigger flare-ups.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.