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Diverticulosis, Diverticulitis and Nutrition

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis can be exacerbated by certain dietary factors. Learn more about the nutrition needs to prevent and treat painful flair-ups.

Large intestine with plants growing from it.

What is Diverticulosis? 

Diverticulosis is a condition that affects the colon.

Diverticulosis happens when pouches form in the colon. These pouches are permanent and are called diverticula. 

The cause of diverticulosis is unknown, but it is more common in older adults who have a low-fibre diet or have a family history of the condition.

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis can develop if these small pouches (diverticula) in the large intestine wall become inflamed.

This condition can lead to severe complications if left untreated, so knowing what causes it and how to prevent it is essential. 

The symptoms of diverticular disease can vary from person to person but may include

  • Cramps in the lower abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Fever and Chills
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea or constipation (alternating)
  • Nausea and vomiting (occasionally)

Interestingly, there are different nutrition needs for managing diverticulosis versus diverticulitis (symptomatic flair up of diverticulosis). Let's unpack things further!

How is Diverticulosis Diagnosed?

The most common diagnosis is a colonoscopy procedure where a camera is inserted into the intestine through the rectum into the colon to look for problems like diverticula or polyps. 

Oftentimes a person with diverticulosis may not experience symptoms and only become aware of the condition during other routine bowel prevention checks like stool test that happens when you're 50. 

Management of Diverticulosis

The treatment for diverticulosis is a diet that is high in fibre and fluids. This diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Your dietitian may also suggest a bulking agent to assist with passing stool. The bulking agents can help provide relief from pain and discomfort and reduce the incidence of constipation by increasing fecal bulk.

Treatment for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is an inflammation of the diverticula in the colon. It can become severe, so always seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms. 

Treatment for diverticulitis varies depending on the severity of the condition but usually includes antibiotics, pain relief, a low fibre diet, and bowel rest. These are temporary treatments until the inflammation settles, and then a gradual reintroduction of fibre would occur.

For more information visit

Dietitians Australia

Better Health


Image credit: baluchis



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