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Diverticulitis (cont.)

Prevention

To help prevent diverticulitis:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet that is low in fat and red meat.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly.

Some people avoid nuts, seeds, berries, and popcorn, believing that these foods might get trapped in the diverticula and cause pain. But there is no evidence that these foods cause diverticulitis or make it worse.4

Home Treatment

Home treatment may help you control symptoms of diverticulitis or reduce the chance of having additional attacks of diverticulitis.

To reduce abdominal pain caused by mild diverticulitis:

  • Apply a heating pad to your abdomen to relieve mild cramps and pain.
  • Try relaxation techniques (such as slow, deep breathing in a quiet room or meditation) to help reduce mild pain.
  • Use a nonprescription pain medicine such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol).
  • If these techniques do not help and your pain increases, call your doctor to see whether prescription pain medicine is needed.

When you are feeling better, you can do some things to help prevent another attack. You may want to:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet. Whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables can all be part of a high-fiber diet.
  • Practice healthy bowel habits, such as eating at regular times, not straining during a bowel movement, and getting plenty of fluids each day.

Do not use laxatives or enemas unless your doctor prescribes them. If you use laxatives too often, you can become dependent on them for bowel movements. If you are having a sudden (acute) attack of diverticulitis, laxatives or enemas can make the pain worse.

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