Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Here are things you can do to help prevent or slow the progression of diverticular disease:
- Eat more fiber. High-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, soften waste material and help it pass more quickly through your colon. This reduces pressure inside your digestive tract. Aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. An apple or 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of spinach each contains more than 3 grams of fiber, and 1/2 cup of kidney beans contains about 8 grams. Try to substitute fruits, vegetables and grain products for foods high in fat. Be sure to add fiber gradually to avoid bloating, abdominal discomfort and gas. If it's difficult for you to consume 20 or more grams of fiber every day, consider using a fiber supplement, such as psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel). Avoiding seeds or nuts won't prevent recurrent attacks of diverticulitis.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fiber works by absorbing water and increasing the soft, bulky waste in your colon. But if you don't drink enough liquid to replace what's absorbed, fiber can be constipating.
- Respond to bowel urges. When you need to use the toilet, don't delay. Delaying bowel movements leads to harder stools that require more force to pass and increased pressure within your colon.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise promotes normal bowel function and reduces pressure inside your colon. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days.
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