Greek yogurt with fresh vegetables and fruits; dairy

Q. My husband was diagnosed with diverticulitis. He was treated with antibiotics, but the doctor said he could have another attack at any time.

My husband now avoids seeds and nuts, but a different doctor says food has very little impact. I now give my husband lots of fruit, yogurt and acidophilus milk and he is taking FiberCon daily. Is there anything else that might help?

A. Your husband may want to try probiotics (good bacteria). Such products can be purchased under refrigeration in health food stores. One reader reported: “After ten years of being diagnosed repeatedly with diverticulitis and treated with antibiotics, my digestive system went crazy and I lost bowel control.

“More antibiotics and prednisone were prescribed. One doctor wanted to do surgery, perhaps a colostomy, on my bowel.

“I sought a second opinion and the doctor prescribed probiotics (VSL#3). A week later I was fine. After four years I have no more diverticulitis and my system works fine. No diarrhea.”

A recent study found that a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and probiotic VSL#3 worked better in recovery from diverticulitis than either treatment alone (International Journal of Colorectal Disease, online March 28, 2007).

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  1. Liz

    Slippery elm tea has saved me! Take 1/2 teaspoon and boil with one cup of water. Add honey for taste. This also got rid of my terrible heartburn as well as helping diverticulosis. I am finally on a combination probiotics/ acidophilus which I hear is a benefit.

  2. LIZA


  3. kathy

    I’ve had divertacula for about 10 yrs. But never had a flare up until last year. I’ve had two bouts, or three, of diverticulitis! The first time, I was sent to the hospital and spent two days on liquid diet, and IVs with antibiotics.

    I went home, and took the pills, and stayed on the liquid diet for about a week. I was good, and then about a year later, I had another bout with it, I went to the er. They took a CAT scan, gave me antibiotics with liquid diet, and was sent home.

    I was OK for awhile. Then on the 29th of December, last year I went to the er with pain in the lower left side of my stomach. They took another CAT scan, and came back in and told me I had a bad abscess, and another one with a hole in it. They admitted me, and said surgery was needed. I waited for the doctor, and he came in and said, I’m not going to do surgery! I’m going to give you antibiotics and a iv for two days, on a liquid diet…

    I asked the Dr. what about the hole in my abscessed pocket? He said it was a micro hole and I could heal with antibiotics, well i’m still hurting, not as bad. He said if he had to do surgery it would be a colonoscopy bag, I asked him was there other ways to treat this without me having to wear a bag? he said nO! Is that the only way to fix me?

  4. Kate
    Atlanta, GA.

    I make my own fermented vegetables using a culture which has billions of probiotics in it. The culture powder has to be kept refrigerated as well as the cultured vegetables. I had diverticulitis in August and have not had any issues since including these foods in my diet daily plus drinking a glass of Goodbelly each morning. Blueberry or Blackberry flavors are the best!

    • Carolyn
      Joplin, mo.

      I have the same problem. And I don’t want surgery. I am 77.

  5. Lem
    Augusta, GA

    Has anyone tried the Wheat Belly Diet for Diverticulosis? I have just been diagnosed with this and it pretty much effects my entire colon in several spots. I want to keep this new discovery to a minimum. My dad and grandmother had difficulty with Diverticulitis and surgeries.

  6. Mary

    What is VSL#3?

    • Tom
      Raleigh, NC

      Mary, VSL #3 is a concentrated, freeze-dried, collection of high-potency probiotics in a capsule. It has to be refrigerated, so you have to ask your pharmacist for it, but you don’t need a prescription. I got a bottle of 60 capsules at Costco’s for about $50 (it’s not cheap).

      If you don’t want that, two somewhat less expensive alternatives are DanActive (little bottles, in your dairy section at $5 for 8 bottles, one a day, proven to help with IBS) or Kefir. Both are liquid yogurts with concentrated probiotics; DanActive is focused on L. casei while Kefir has that and 11 others.

  7. howard

    i had diverticulitis over three years ago-and in about two months had two flareups where i had to be treated with antibiotics for ten days each. but i got a book called “great taste,no pain”. and what i took from the book was to always eat meat with veggies and no bread at all with meat ever. but can eat more or less whatever i want. in almost three years,no flareups.

  8. Delene
    South Africa

    Diagnosed with Diverticulitis and admitted to hospital, on discharge was just told to eat a high fibre diet. About 8 months later another flare up, went to Doctor got antibiotics finished course 2 days ago and feel like it is back. From my own reseach I avoid seeds and nuts. Looking for a proper diet with which foods to avoid.

    • don zinman

      Good probiotics (billions) do your own researfch here
      Grapefruit seed extract daily (240 mg)
      Do not eat starches (grain, bread etc or fruit) with protein

  9. Patricia

    My first “flare” of diverticulitis came at age 60. Over the next 8 years I had a flare on average of every six months. I tried probiotics, fiber, diet restrictions – everything 3 different specialists suggested. After spending 3 days over Christmas in bed with a particularly painful infection, I agreed to surgery. My sugeon specialized in laproscopic bowel sugrery but there was too much scar tissue and I ended up with an “open” incision. He said he saw scaring from approximately 20 infections. But, I have felt terrific ever since the surgery. I’m full of energy, and have maintaned the 8 pound weight loss from surgery leaving me at my ideal weight. I continue taking probiotics twice daily and eat my previous mostly lacto, ovo, vegetarian diet. I seem to be able to eat a wider variety of foods without side effects and my IBS is mostly a thing of the past. I wish I had had the surgery earlier before there was so much scaring but I was fearful of being in the small percentage of people with lifelong problems.

  10. Gerry

    I have recently been diagnosed with Diverticulitis.
    I am trying to find a list of foods that I should & shouldn’t have.
    I can’t seem to find this anywhere.
    Do you have one? Or know where I can find one?
    Thank you,

    • Paul

      Could you have the sacks sealed during sigmoidoscopy? They’er in there excising polyps already. Exercise to strengthen musculature would have to help. Kagels help me. Reduced and focused eating is going to happen anyway. High fiber with its low putrification factor and parastaltic exercise possibilities would seem a good choice. But our blender does not macerate fruits enough to keep me from being scared of its residue. Although it works just fine on Kale. Good healt to you.

  11. Lottie

    I need to take pre and pro biotics for diverticulitis. I am totally unable to swallow capsules, can I get enough in yogurt and which brands are best please? Lottie.

  12. Rosalie

    You sound so excited about your new plan to treat diverticulitis. I just saw my surgeon and I am terrified to have the surgery. Please let me know how you are doing with your new treatment? Thanks Rosalie

  13. Nadine

    I was just hospitalized for diverticulitis with an abscess about two weeks ago. After receiving IV antibiotic therapy and lots of morphine and being told that if I had another attack I would be having surgery, I am so excited today after speaking to a friend who is in the health care industry I think I am feeling a little more positive about the whole thing.
    Still having pain and inflammation as well as 15 trips to the biffy every morning which takes up more than half of my day. My friends wife also suffered bouts of diverticulitis with a threat of emergency surgery……. she recommends to take the following two products: Udo’s Choice Super 8 Plus Probiotic capsules twice per day on a full stomach and you also need to drink a product called Bio K which comes in little wee bottles that you simply swallow once every two days.
    She has been symptom free for 10 years now and did not need that surgery after all!!! I just raced out to VitaHealth store and purchased them both…. expensive but I think my life is worth it……..don’t you????? Just swallowed my first probiotic capsule and cant wait to drink my first little bottle of wonder in the morning!! Cheers! I will come back at a later date and let you know how I am feeling :-)

  14. Rangijay

    Dear Summer: You sound just I once did, miserable (poor dear!). But now I am free of IBS like symptoms. After 3 years of IBS like symptoms I began researching for information on New treatments for IBS. Keep in mind that the etiology of IBS is not understood by most doctors (MD).
    My research led me to studies at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, CA. At Cedars, studies demonstrate that particular antibiotics are effective in relieving symptoms of IBS. Their thesis is, that the etiology of IBS, is an “… overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel.” And, this overgrowth of harmful bacteria, can be effectively treated with particular antibiotics.
    With this research in hand, I consulted with my MD who wrote me a prescription for Septra, an antibiotic. After 5 days of Septra, I started to feel better and by 10 days all my IBS like symptoms were gone!
    Below are links taken from my research: Hope this helps you and anyone suffering with IBS. Remember, sometimes we have to educate our doctors!
    One more thing: When taking antibiotics, also take, probiotics. And, do your homework, to find an reputable probiotic product, not candy-yogurt, or the sugary products you see in TV commercials. Find a high potency probiotic. These require refrigeration, don’t settle for poor products, after all this is your wellness and happiness we are talking about!

  15. TM

    I had surgery after repeated bouts with diverticultis. My resection leaked and I ended up with emergency surgery for an infection in my abdominal cavity, ileostomy bag for 8 weeks and another surgery to close the ileostomy. 90% of people never have a other bout with diverticulitis after surgery but I did, twice. The last infection was the worst with a small abscess inside my colon. I had the chills so bad I thought my teeth would shatter.
    I’m going to try some of the recommendations here or the next surgery will be to remove my entire large intestine. Doctor wants to do another resection but that doesn’t make sense to me because I have diverticulosis throughout my entire colon. I’m at my ropes end.

  16. M

    Have added to my diet….
    Probiotics – 1/35 billion capsule with breakfast
    Vitamin D – 2 / 1000mg soft gels or whenever I feel that twinge coming on.
    High Fiber diet daily – fruits and veggies [V-8 Fusion light can be used], 100% bran cereal mixed with activia yogurt, eggs and toast etc.
    Aloe Vera Fractionated Water 2oz first thing in the morning and 2oz before bed.
    Symptom free since I’ve been doing this.
    I also take my regular routine of an array of supplements with lunch.
    Super green multi, C’s, acai, resvertrol, Coq10, leutin, Omega 3’s and avoid the well known food culprits.
    Walk or do low impact exercises daily.

  17. RS

    Had diverticulitis 10 years,…got so bad was very sick with high fevers. Doctor said an operation or you will die. The operation was a wonderful thing. My digestive and bowel problems stopped completely. I can eat anything. The operation was 20 years ago. Don’t suffer and risk your life if it’s severe.

  18. melodie

    i have just been diagnosed with diverticulitis. I don’t know what to eat or what to do… the bloating and the gas is crazy. I’m on antibiotics now, so what do I do next?

    • Kathy

      I read about your operation. I would like to know what did the operation consist of? Thank you!

  19. Richard

    IBS/IBD has no one solution for every person.
    I have multiple digestive problems that lead to chronic diarrhea, gas, motility problems, strictures, diverticulosis and weight loss.
    My solution.
    Probiotics are a must for me. I take Activia but there are some equally good products with no milk. Do you have a lactose intolerance?
    I take MRM Digest-All and HCL with every meal. I have difficulty digesting fat, lactose, protein and complex carbohydrates. What does that leave?
    I take Citrucel daily for extra fiber.
    I can eat cooked vegetables, salads, fruit and fish. But not if I am in the middle of a flare-up.
    I think the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is valuable. Complex carbohydrates can be a bigger problem than you would think.
    Surprisingly, virgin coconut oil has also helped. It is a medium chain fat and easier to digest.
    If you have pain, cramping, gas and diarrhea, then take it slow with everything. Eat only the easiest things to digest FOR YOU, maybe fruit and probiotics.
    I have had this for 25 years and have gained back 50 pounds. The last year has been my best year with almost no main, gas or diarrhea. I avoid everything with flour and sugar. I avoid most starchy vegetables.

  20. Summer Davison

    I have a terrible problem after eating certain foods or a combination of foods, that my stomach gets very distended and I feel like I have eaten a 7-course dinner. It doesn’t take a lot of food and I know I am lactose intolerant and have stopped those types of foods but it still continues.
    It has gotten worse lately since I have been taking Threelac and an OTC capsule from Digestive Advantage for IBS. I thought this would work, but I have been taking the Threelac for 3 months, the IBS capsules off and on, and it is getting to where I can’t eat anything without the symptoms mentioned.
    I am ready to jump off a bridge. What can I do or take?

  21. ERB

    I was diagnosed wth diverticulitis and associated colitis-this was after being treated for ulcerative colitis. My bowels were unformed. I started taking two packs of vsl#3 in Jan and my bowels are now fuly formed, although I still have rectal inflamation. I have not been on antibiotics for about 4 months. How do I know when it is time to start cutting down or stopping the vsl#3?

  22. Anne

    My diverticulitis started 4 years ago and after the last episode I cut out so many different foods that I no longer looked forward to eating. I now drink Konsyl (psyllium) once a day and eat some yogurt 3 times a day. My health has improved and I feel so much better. I still avoid red meat, nuts and seeds. Yogurt and soluble fiber has made all the difference for me.

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