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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Diverticulosis is a condition in which small pockets called diverticula form in the colon (also called the large intestine or bowel). These pockets make it difficult for bowel movements to pass through your digestive system. Experts believe that diverticulosis may be the result of a lifelong diet that is too low in fiber.
Diet you should follow:
You may not have any symptoms with diverticulosis, but you should follow a high-fiber diet to prevent it from getting worse.
- Eat high-fiber foods to help you have regular bowel movements. Extra fiber may help decrease the risk that you will form new diverticula and develop diverticulitis. This is a painful condition that occurs when diverticula become inflamed or infected.
- Most adults need 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. With diverticulosis, you may need 6 to 10 grams more than this amount each day. Ask your primary healthcare provider or dietitian how much fiber you should have. Increase your intake of fiber slowly. When you eat more fiber, you may have gas and feel bloated. You may need to take a fiber supplement if you are not getting enough fiber from food. Drink at least 2 to 3 liters (8 to 12 cups) of liquid each day as you increase the fiber in your diet.
Foods that are high in fiber:
- Foods with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving:
- ⅓ to ½ cup of high-fiber cereal (check the nutrition label on the box)
- ½ cup of blackberries or raspberries
- 4 dried prunes
- 1 cooked artichoke
- ½ cup of cooked legumes, such as lentils, or red, kidney, and pinto beans
- Foods with 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving:
- 1 slice of whole-wheat, pumpernickel, or rye bread
- 4 whole-wheat crackers
- ½ cup of cereal with 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving (check the nutrition label on the box)
- 1 piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana, pear, kiwi, or orange
- 3 dates
- ½ cup of canned apricots, fruit cocktail, peaches, or pears
- ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, squash, or corn
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have questions about a high-fiber diet.
- You have a change in your bowel movements.
- You have an upset stomach.
- You have a fever.
- You have pain in your lower abdomen on the left side.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have bloody diarrhea.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.