Conventional treatment methods for diverticulitis usually involve antibiotics and over-the-counter pain relief medication. For severe cases, intravenous antibiotics, or even surgical procedures like bowel resection (if complications have arisen), are advised. However, these conventional methods can pose problems and lead to further side effects.
What's more, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found that these conventional options may be too overused, and should be used less aggressively. According to Dr. Norton Greenberger, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School:
"I'd be loath to say don't give antibiotics to patients with diverticulitis. It depends if they have clear cut diverticulitis accompanied by pain, fever, elevated white blood cell count, and an abnormal physical exam.
You have to see if they have these findings. If these are absent, the patient may have just symptomatic diverticular disease."
Natural Treatment Methods for Diverticulitis
The good news is that there are home remedies for diverticulitis that can help you deal with the painful symptoms and reduce the chance of flare-ups from occurring.
• Modify your diet. Avoid all processed foods and eat more high-fiber foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These will soften your stool and allow it to pass through your colon more quickly, reducing pressure on your digestive tract and preventing the formation of diverticula.
Other easily digestible foods you should add to your diet include homemade bone broth, green vegetable juice and ginger tea.
• Increase your fluid intake. Fiber increases the soft, bulky waste in your colon, but it does this by absorbing water. If you get enough fiber but do not drink enough liquid to replace what's absorbed, fiber may lead to constipation and worsen your symptoms.
• Get enough exercise. Regular exercise ensures normal bowel function and reduces pressure on your colon.
• Consume probiotic-rich foods. The healthy bacteria in these foods can relieve digestive upset including gas, constipation, and bloating, and promote a healthy digestive tract.
• Remove all sugar from your diet. Sugar can inhibit your immune system's response time and feeds pathogenic bacteria that may cause diverticula to form.
• Practice healthy bowel habits. Make sure that you eat at regular, scheduled times every day and avoid straining during a bowel movement.
• Apply a heating pad or warm compress to your abdomen. This will help relieve mild cramps and pain.
• Try relaxation techniques (slow, deep breathing in a quiet room, yoga, or meditation) to help reduce mild pain. You can also try the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to help you cope with diverticulitis pain.
Supplements May Also Help With Diverticulitis
There are also supplements that may help treat diverticulitis, relieve the pain it causes, and promote healthy digestive processes. These include:
• Slippery elm. A remedy used by Native Americans for digestive problems and cough or sore throat relief, slippery elm is said to relieve symptoms of GERD, Crohn's disease, and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).
• Aloe. It aids in digestion and bowel processing, helps normalize pH levels, and encourages healthy digestive bacteria. Make sure to avoid aloe vera juice with "aloe latex," though, as it can lead to more severe cramping and diarrhea.
• Licorice root. This plant relieves heartburn, lowers stomach acid levels, and works as a mild laxative to remove waste from your colon.
• Digestive enzymes. These keep your digestive tract functioning optimally by helping break down foods, facilitating digestion, and helping you absorb nutrients.