Diverticulitis: Natural Home Remedies

Diverticulosis has become more common in recent years as our consumption of processed foods has increased. It’s another one of those lifestyle diseases.

Image of a jar of yogurt and 3 golden pears

Diverticulosis is a word for the condition of having pouches or sacs on the outer wall of the colon. Diverticulitis is the word used for the of those sacs. Diverticulitis can be painful and serious, with rupturing. Some home care suggestions for diverticulitis follow. If you have bleeding and pain, see your MD.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Many people with diverticulosis are asymptomatic. It may be only when the sacs are inflamed/infected that symptoms develop:

Some risk factors (some of which you can change):

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Gender (more common in men)
  • Heredity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low Vitamin D
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Medications (like aspirin and NSAID’s)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

PREVALENCE

The NCBI estimates 10 to 25% of those with diverticular disease develop symptoms.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment may be as simple as a rest and a temporary restorative diet. If you are infected, you may be prescribed an antibiotic. If you have a mild case, as many do, there are some self-help suggestions below.

SELF TREATMENT

Not everything is good for everybody. Please check the contraindications for any substances you ingest, rub on skin or inhale, as many natural substances are dangerous for some medical conditions and may interact with prescribed medications. Pregnant or nursing women should be especially cautious.

DIET

While you are ill and symptomatic, you may require a special diet with clear liquids and low fiber. When your doctor says it’s ok, you can start building up to a healthy maintenance diet but it will most likely be different than the one you had before you became ill. The suggestions in this post are for the restorative period.

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important WHEN YOU ARE WELL to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Barley may be one of the few grains that will not aggravate; maybe wait until you are on the mend.
  • Bone broth
  • Garlic
  • Low fiber foods
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Pureed soups
  • Yogurt

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • High-fiber foods
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Processed foods and sugars
  • Raw vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Spicy food (in the beginning)
  • Whole grains

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Aloe vera juice
  • Caraway
  • Cat’s claw
  • Chamomile
  • Diverticulitis tea (commercial blend)
  • Fennel
  • Flaxseed
  • Ginger
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal
  • Lemon balm
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow
  • Oolong
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Peppermint
  • Slippery elm
  • Spearmint

HERBS AND SPICES

It is probably best to take your herbs in tea form while you are suffering from symptoms.

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, mixed with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut, almond) and used topically, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath. Add a few drops to a carrier oil and use as a massage oil. Experiment with blends.

  • Chamomile
  • Clove
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Licorice root
  • Magnesium
  • Slippery elm
  • Fiber supplements when you are not suffering from a flare-up

HYDRATION

Your digestive tract needs water! Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

Regular exercise is crucial to digestive health. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Castor oil cleanse (but then you will have to restore gut flora)
  • Chew your food well so particles are less likely to lodge in pockets in your intestines
  • Diatomaceous earth, food grade
  • Ginger compress

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • If you have bleeding and pain, see your MD.
  • Avoid the use of suppositories.

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Adequate fiber
  • Adequate hydration
  • Chew food well to avoid tiny particles becoming lodged in the diverticula.
  • Develop good core muscles.
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Do not ignore urges to use the toilet.
  • Regular exercise
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