Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
How can I prevent a flare up of Diverticulitis?
Posted in Diverticulitis by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Jul 01, 2010
"Hello I was just diagnosed with diverticulosis and I was just wondering if there are any things I can do to prevent flare ups besides fiber? I am 40 yrs old and I have had flare ups where I bloat and run fever and feel nauseous and sometimes have abdomen pain. But, it's kind of dull, nothing severe. When I do have these pains does that mean I have to start antibiotics? Or is that something that just happens with this?"

Let me answer both of your questions about diverticular disease:

1) When do you need to be treated with antibiotics? You need antibiotics when you have diverticulitis, an infection or inflammation in the Diverticula you describe having. Diverticulosis just means that Diverticula are present in your colon which is a common finding as we get older. Only 15-25% of people with Diverticulosis ever develop Diverticulitis. During episodes of nausea, decreased appetite and pain associated with fever that you describe you need to see your doctor as you may have Diverticulitis. A CT scan of your abdomen during an episode will help make the diagnosis of Diverticulitis and you will be treated with oral antibiotics (usually Ciprofloxacin and Flagyl) and instructed to consume only clear liquids for a few days. Some people require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics depending upon the severity of symptoms.

2) How can I change my diet to reduce flares? During a flare you should consume only clear liquids for 2-3 days after which you can advance your diet slowly. The role of dietary therapy in the prevention of Diverticulitis is debated but consuming a high fiber diet may reduce the incidence of recurrence. People with diverticulosis have historically been advised to avoid whole pieces of fiber (such as seeds, corn, and nuts) because of concern that the undigested fragments could become lodged within a diverticulum, thereby inciting an episode of diverticulitis. While this commonly heard advice to avoid small Undigestable foods (such as seeds) is completely unproven it continues to be recommended by some physicians.

Dr O.

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CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: Chronic Pain  •  Diets & Weight Maintenance  •  Diverticulitis

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To prevent flare-up is really an easy thing. I have diverticuli and I do not eat any things that does not digest. nuts, seeds, skins. I peel everything if the skin is tough, if the skin is really soft like a young zuchinni I am okay but I still make sure it is chewed well. Things I do not eat: Popcorn, Corn, Potato skins, course ground pepper and other spices, berries, nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds. any type of thick skin, seeds. someitmes tomatoes even bother me so when I go to chew something and have problems chewing it all up it usually spit it out and dont eat that. There are alot of wonderful things to eat and way to cook food so a person can adjust. My last surgery way years ago, probably 15. I can usually figure out what it ws that I ate and just dont eat it again.
By juliecrawford  Jul 01, 2010
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