If you’ve been experiencing frequent pain in the lower abdomen, along with increasing instances of blood in your stool, the chances are that you may be suffering from diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is preceded by Diverticulosis, a condition in which Small pockets, known as diverticula, develop in the intestinal wall of the colon and lower intestine.
When these pockets become infected and inflamed, causing pain, bleeding, or blockage, the condition is called diverticulitis. It is sometimes associated with growing age; and due to a low fiber diet. (6)
Apart from the frequent pain, this disease can debilitate and cripple your entire digestive system if left untreated for too long.
Before we move on to how to treat diverticulitis, let us take a look at the causes and symptoms, along with any steps that can be taken for prevention. (11)
- Causes of Diverticulitis
- Symptoms of Diverticulitis
- Preventing Diverticulitis
- Home Remedies for Diverticulitis
- Method 1: Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Method 2: Aloe Vera Juice
- Method 3: Probiotics
- Method 4: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 5: Garlic
- Method 6: Turmeric
- Method 7: Slippery Elm
- Method 8: Diet
- Tips to keep in mind
Causes of Diverticulitis
The causes of diverticulitis include the following. (8)
- Low-fiber diet
- Long history of constipation
- Regular use of painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin over a long period
- Aging - most people over the age of 80 develop diverticulosis
- Lack of exercise, especially of the lower body
Symptoms of Diverticulitis
One should look out for the following symptoms: (8)
- Abdominal pain, most commonly in the lower left side
- Gas or abdominal bloating
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea accompanied by vomiting
- Blood in your stool, due to rectal bleeding
- Fever or chills
- Eat a high-fiber diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables to avoid constipation and to ensure a healthy colon. (2)(8)
- Exercise regularly and lead an active lifestyle.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, make an appointment with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. This is a serious condition that should not be ignored.
The doctor will likely order a complete blood count test, a CT scan, and a colonoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
If you have any of the serious symptoms like repeated vomiting, bouts of fever and chills, or are unable to keep any liquids down, go to the emergency department at your local hospital immediately.
Long-term complications of diverticulitis include the development of anal fistulas, abscesses, peritonitis or inflammation of the peritoneum (the thin tissue lining inside the abdomen), and intestinal blockage caused by scarring.
Home Remedies for Diverticulitis
If your diverticulitis has just started, there is no need to push strong antibiotics into your body, as they take a heavy toll on your health and may even cause allergic reactions requiring further medications.
We have eight highly effective home remedies to treat diverticulitis in the early stages and heal your body naturally from within.
Method 1: Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract, rich in vitamin C and potassium, can aid to strengthen the immune system, detoxify the digestive system and fight free radicals. Given its potent antimicrobial properties it is also used for treating diverticulitis.
Make sure you buy chemical-free standardized grapefruit seed extract for oral consumption. (3)
Single-Step Treatment: Take grapefruit seed extract internally
- Dilute 12 drops of standardized, chemical-free grapefruit seed extract (GSE) in a full glass of water.
- Drink this concoction 3 or 4 times a day for at least 4 days to treat a diverticulitis flare-up.
- After 4 days as your symptoms improve, reduce your dosage to 12 drops of GSE in a glass of water once daily.
To prevent the infection from recurring, drink a glass of water with 12 drops of GSE every night before going to sleep for at least 2 weeks. If signs indicate a recurrence, take 12 drops twice daily until the symptoms subside.
Method 2: Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice is highly beneficial for those suffering from diverticulitis. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help bring down the swelling in the inflamed diverticula.
Additionally, this natural juice works to soothe the gastrointestinal tract, as it reduces acidity in the stomach. It further acts as a laxative to solve the problem of constipation and ensure smooth bowel movements.
A 2013 article published in Pharmacology & Pharmacy further elaborates upon the antimicrobial and laxative properties of aloe vera that are useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. (5)
Single-Step Treatment: Drink aloe vera juice daily
- Drink ½ cup of aloe vera juice 3 times daily to treat the infected intestinal bulges and to get relief from the pain and inflammation.
Continue daily consumption of aloe vera juice to heal and soothe your gastrointestinal tract until the symptoms of diverticulitis have completely subsided. You will find immediate relief from the pain and burning in 3 to 4 days.
To get relief from long-term constipation in order to avoid a recurrence of diverticulitis, take 50 to 200 mg of aloe latex once a day for at least 10 days. Start with 50 mg and increase it if needed.
Method 3: Probiotics
Probiotics contain healthy bacteria that improve your gut health, in addition to fighting the infection-causing microbes in the diverticula pockets. (10)
Single-Step Treatment: Consume natural probiotics
- The daily recommended dosage for standard probiotic capsule supplements containing Lactobacillus casei or mesalazine is 250 mg daily, split equally between meals. Following this course will provide relief from diverticulitis symptoms within 1 week.
- You should also consume a bowl of Greek yogurt daily for at least 3 to 4 weeks to boost the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. This will help prevent any inflammation or infection in the future.
Try and include probiotics in your regular diet to prevent any diverticulitis flare-ups in the future.
Method 4: Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can be used to treat a wide variety of digestive ailments including stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, stomachaches, food poisoning, gas, bloating and indigestion.
You can drink diluted apple cider vinegar with a hint of cayenne pepper to treat diverticulitis, as it provides pain relief, reduces inflammation and improves blood circulation to enable faster recovery.
Things you’ll need:
- Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory) – 1 tablespoon
- Organic cayenne pepper powder (anti-inflammatory) – 1 teaspoon
- Warm water
Step 1. Add apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper to a cup of warm water
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper as well.
Step 2. Mix well and drink daily
- Mix it well with a spoon.
- Drink it twice daily, once in the morning and again in the evening.
Drink this concoction for 3 days to successfully treat diverticulitis. You will feel immediate relief within 2 hours of consuming your first dose.
Method 5: Garlic
Garlic contains the compound allicin that has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which make this pungent herb a suggested remedy for diverticulitis.
A 2014 review published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine attests to the powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties of garlic. (1)
Single-Step Treatment: Eat raw garlic
- Peel and mince 1 garlic clove for internal ingestion. Consume it 3 times daily.
- Alternatively, take 2 garlic capsules 3 times daily.
- Make garlic an essential part of your normal diet. Add freshly chopped garlic to soups or salads, and use it in your daily cooking for added flavor and benefits.
You will find relief from diverticulitis symptoms after 3 to 4 days of internal consumption. Continue with the recommended treatment until your diverticulitis is completely cured.
Consume garlic regularly to prevent any infections or flare-ups in the future.
Method 6: Turmeric
The active compound in turmeric is curcumin, which apart from giving this spice its beautiful golden color, also has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a popular treatment for diverticulitis.
A 2013 study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology substantiates the importance of turmeric in treating an extensive range of gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. (4)
Single-Step Treatment: Consume turmeric on a regular basis
- The amount of turmeric supplements to be taken depends on the duration and severity of your diverticulitis symptoms. You can take turmeric capsules containing between 1 to 3 grams of organic turmeric powder, depending on how bad your condition is.
- Start with a low daily dosage, judge its effectiveness and then increase the dose accordingly if required. Make sure that you take turmeric capsules containing organic turmeric powder and just a hint of organic black pepper powder, as it drastically improves the bioavailability of curcumin.
Once you start taking turmeric supplements, you will get relief from the symptoms of the infection within 1 week. Continue the treatment until all the associated complications are completely gone.
Include turmeric in your regular diet to prevent inflammation and infection of the diverticula pouches in the future. Just add a ¼ teaspoon to your food regularly while cooking.
Method 7: Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has long been used in traditional Native American medicine to treat any sort of inflammation or irritation in the digestive tract including nausea, indigestion, food allergies, stomach ulcers, acidity, heartburn, hiatus hernia, colitis, diarrhea, and diverticulitis.
The medicinal tincture is extracted from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree and is very nutritious having healing properties. When taken orally it promotes mucus secretions, which in turn helps reduce intestinal acidity and helps heal the ravaged intestinal lining.
In fact, slippery elm extracts are also used to treat a cough or sore throat, as they help soothe irritation in the throat via increased mucus secretions.
Single-Step Treatment: Take slippery elm extract
- The daily recommended dosage is 1.5 to 3 grams of standardized slippery elm extract decocted using ethyl alcohol.
- Take 1 teaspoon of standardized slippery elm extract in a cup of water 2 or 3 times daily to treat diverticulitis flare-ups. Make sure that you do not exceed the recommended daily limit.
You will find relief after 3 to 4 days of regular consumption. Continue treatment until the symptoms have completely subsided.
Method 8: Diet
Since long-term constipation is a major causative factor in diverticulitis, following the right diet is crucial for treating diverticulitis and its symptoms. (7)
The best way to get a smooth-functioning digestive system and healthy colon is by eating raw fibrous vegetables and fruits like celery, carrots, and apples, that contain enzymes that support digestion.
However, keep in mind that switching over to a high-fiber diet during an attack or flare-up may do more harm than good. (9)
Foods to eat during an attack or flare-up:
- Bone Broth
- Fermented food and drinks
- Ice chips
- Detox water made with homemade alkaline water or sugar-free flavored water. Give it a boost by adding 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Extra-virgin coconut oil for cooking
- Natural coconut water is also highly beneficial and intensely soothing.
- Steamed and/or pureed fresh vegetables, seasoned with turmeric and ginger.
Foods to avoid during a flare-up or attack:
- Nuts and seeds
- Gassy vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, green beans and potatoes
- Dried fruits or canned fruits and vegetables
- Sugary snacks, sodas, refined or processed food, especially junk/fast food
- Fried food
- Acidic food, alcohol, corn and corn products
- Eggs, fish, red meat and poultry
- White rice, pasta, noodles, and white bread
- Milk, cream or cheese
Tips to keep in mind
- If you suffer from long-term constipation, take measures to solve the problem in order to prevent diverticulosis.
- Reduce stress
- Healthy bathroom habits
- Fiber-rich diet
- Optimal hydration
- Drink lots of water to flush out your system and prevent constipation.
- You can also add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to a glass of water and let it sit for about 3 hours before drinking it to clear out your system. The recommended limit for ground flaxseeds is 15 grams daily.
- Bayan, Leyla, Hossain P, Gorji, Ali. Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. http://ajp.mums.ac.ir/article_1741.html. Published January 1, 2014.
- Skerrett PJ, Willett WC. Essentials of Healthy Eating: A Guide - PubMed Central (PMC). HHS Public Access. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471136/. Published 2010.
- Wang H, Xue Y, Zhang H. Dietary grape seed extract ameliorates symptoms of ... HHS Public Access. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976669/. Published December 2013.
- Dulbecco P, Savarino V. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in digestive diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24409053. Published December 28, 2013.
- Hęś M, Dziedzic K, Thanh-Blicharz JML, et. al. Antioxidant activity of true aloe (Aloe vera) extracts. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315917684. Published December 2016.
- Peery A, Dellon ES, et al. Burden of Gastrointestinal Diseases in the United States ... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480553/. Published August 2012.
- Schuster BG. Constipation in older adults: Stepwise approach to keep ... Can Fam Physician. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325863/. Published February 2015.
- Diverticular Disease | NIDDK. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diverticulosis-diverticulitis.
- Strate LL. Diverticulosis and Dietary Fiber: Rethinking the Relationship. Gastroenterology. https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(11)01701-X/fulltext. Published February 2012.
- Eliseia W, Tursib A. Recent advances in the treatment of colonic diverticular ... Annals of Gastroenterology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700842/. Published 2016.
- Welling DR. Medical treatment of diverticular disease. Clinical Colon Rectal Surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20011271. Published August 2004.
- Mayl J, Marchenko M, Frierson E. Management of Acute Uncomplicated Diverticulitis May ... Cureus. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316946716. Published May 2017.