Diagnosed w/Diverticulitis--vegetarian, eat lots of fiber, water, exercise, how did I get this?

Edited , 7 users are following.

Hello. New to the board here. Had previously been diagnosed with diverticulosis thru colonoscopy, though nothing notable with that. I would be the poster child on how to eat to NOT get diverticulitis. Have been a lifelong clean eater, mostly salads, greens, beans, protein smoothies, no meat, no white anything, water is my drink of choice, exercise at least 5 times a week, and am at a loss as to how I ended up in the ER yesterday after a CT confirmed diverticulitis.

I had some vague left lower quadrant pain, about a 2-3/10 in severity. So nothing severe. Notable in the last few days. Funny, or coincidental, that I just polished off about a pound of roasted brussel sprouts in the days prior. I am used to eating fiber and the very worst thing that happens is a little tummy rumbling. I have never had an issue with going #2, daily and very easily. You just know when your body is not right, so I went to the ER.

What caused me to be suspicious something was way off was the fact that I had to use the restroom to go #1 so much that I thought there was something wrong with my bladder. I had a low grade fever on a Friday night 99.5 with chills. Took a Tylenol and felt better. Had some sweating during the night and the next morning I could not stop going to the restroom #1. So went to the ER. CT scan confimed divertiulitis.

They wanted to keep me overnight for IV antibiotics, which I declined because of the covid pandemic going around. I chose to go home on Augmentin for 10 days and follow up with my GI.

Also in reading, I read that Augmentin may not heal up my bout of diverticulitis. It does not seem like it is a very severe case as compared to the symptoms of some of the others on here. So fingers crossed I do not have to get on the 2-antibiotics that wreak havoc on the gut.

I am looking for any information as to heal my gut going forward. Currently on liquids for a few days and will add soft mushy things thereafter.

After reading some of the posts and learning about the benefit of fiber to the diet, I am at a loss as to why I got this in the first place when my diet is exactly what they recommend. I am leary of eating a good healthy, fiber filled diet when that did not seem to keep this disease at bay.

Anyone else have this issue and could this be hereditary? My father has a Zenker's diverticulum (in the esophagus), that fills up with food.

I will be following up with my GI ASAP. Maybe another colonoscopy? Can you have a colonscopy during a flare?

Best probiotic? Do they help?

Thank you so much for any information and insight you may have for those who are further along than myself in this.

0 likes, 15 replies

Report / Delete

15 Replies

  • Edited

    Hi Barbara,

    So sorry you got a flare during these times.

    Yes, diverticulitis can be hereditary. And sometimes it is just bad luck.

    I would recommend a food journal so you can see if some food or foods set you off. If you ate more brussel sprouts at one sitting that may have been too hard on your colon.

    Definately follow up with your GP. I don't think they give colonoscopies for at least six weeks after a flare but I am not certain on that since I have never had one after a flare.

    Please don't give up fibre as it is so important not to get constipated. But also don't eat so much that things are exploding out of you. There is a happy balance of soft enough but not too harsh.

    Soft foods for 3 weeks then slowly and I mean slowly increase your fibre intake. I aim for around 30 grams a day (when well) with no seeds or tough skins and no raw for a while.

    I hope you feel better soon. The excess peeing should stop soon.

    Take Care. Stay safe.

    Julie

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Edited

      Sorry I forgot to say my grandfather had the same as your dad and my grandmother had it in her colon but never had any trouble that we know of. Grandpa had surgery. They ate very well and were quite active all their lives. So you just never know.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks Julie. I think i do tend to overeat the high fiber which may cause some problems definitely. My GI said a colonoscopy is in order after the first flare just to make sure there are no other things in there causing problems. 4-6 weeks, and who knows during this pandemic but she said when things start to open up they will schedule. I am currently going very slow on the post flare diet, gonna have a sweet potato tonight, very exciting. The excessive peeing has stopped after 2nd day on antibiotics, so that makes me happy. Thank you for being such a great support. Cheers.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Edited

    You have just described my lifestyle . Been a vegetarian for most of my life I'm 65 I've been a vegetarian since I've been 14. If you look back on my stories it's very complicated to go into all but I had a very complicated case of diverticulitis, led to abscess,I had to have a bag for 3 months had part of my bowel removed , and my surgeon said it was nothing to do with my lifestyle it was just bad luck. .Not in the family or anything. . I've always been slim I've always been extremely fit and I've always eaten very very well. . I'm 2 years down the track and three operations later and I'm doing ok but I do have to be careful with my fibre I can't have too much. It was life changing for me because before that I was perfectly healthy if there's any questions you want to ask please feel free I'm quite happy to help anyone I can.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Edited

      Should just add that even though you've been treated at home with antibiotics if you develop severe pain and you can't pass wind or go to the toilet go straight to emergency that's how I got my abscess

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Edited

    Yes, Diverticulitis can be part of your genetic makeup. You have been given excellent advice here and are well advised to stay clear of hospitals at this time. Here in the UK you are not admitted to hospital for IV treatment for Diverticulitis, but treated at home through your GP with medication. So you need have no fear there.

    Just give your body time to recover from the infection and side effects of the medication. It could take 4 - 6 weeks, even for a less severe case. Bladder problems are very common with an attack of diverticulitis. I've wondered if it's due to pressure on the bladder from the inflammation. I usually pee for England for about 36 hours, but drink plenty of water and just wait it out. Take care - stay safe.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Edited

    I've had a similar experience. Both parents had GI issues (diverticulosis, hiatal hernias) and I have them also despite eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. I've experimented with various diets and have found that a high fiber diet can trigger a flare-up, especially if it includes insoluble fiber. Flare-ups seem to be triggered by mechanical stimulation (hard or bulky stools) to the lining of the colon. I've even had a flare-up after a colonoscopy from the scope itself. I try to eat more soluble fiber and I take Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) daily to ensure that my stools stay soft. I drink ~ 80 oz. of water/day. Requires vigilance every day but seems to work for me. I've learned to recognize pretty quickly if a flare-up is coming on (frequent urination, left-sided discomfort, excessive "gut growling"). I immediately go on liquids (full liquids works for me) for a couple of days and it clears right up without having to go on antibiotics.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you Cathy for your reply. I am starting to think that I eat way too much bulky fiber and that may rough up things a bit. I think now that I know what this is, I may be able to recognize very early signs and go on liquids immediately like you said to clear out the colon and avoid complications. So glad that it works for you as that is my plan as well going forward. I definitely do not want to be taking antibiotics again. This was the first time in over 30 years that I have taken antibiotics and not interested in that again. So glad to know some things that work for others. Thanks again.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Edited

      Glad my comments were helpful and hope that the strategy works for you as well. I mentioned that I go to full liquids (vs. clear liquids) if I need to and that is much more tolerable (and nutritious) than clear liquids. Creamed soups and pureed fruit with yogurt seem to be easy on the gut and allows the colon time to "calm down." Like you, I do not like to go on antibiotics!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I'm just getting over a flare-up myself. I went on full liquids for 3 days and cleared up without needing antibiotics. Today was a soft food day. My liquid days looked like this:

      80-90 oz. (at least 2 liters) of water throughout the day. Coffee in the morning with a cup of vanilla yogurt. Mid-morning, I eat a small cup of sugar-free pudding. For lunch, I eat a soup like cream of tomato or cream of chicken. Then, for dinner I have more soup and maybe some orange juice. I keep frozen yogurt and popsicles around if I want a "dessert." I usually start feeling much better in 24-48 hours and then stay on liquids for another day before advancing to soft.

      I'm glad that I can get better without having to go on clear liquids as that would be very hard to do for 3 days.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Edited

    Hi there I'm so sorry you are going through this. Your story is very similar to mine. My father has it. I had it. And yes I was told it can be hereditary. I'm not a vegetarian however I've never been constipated ate small amounts of red meat no pork at all. No crap food or drink either. My father had an abscess that was drained and required no surgery. I think he was too old for surgery. I was told also I had diverticuli. But I never had problems til 15 years later. Then all hell broke loose. I had 2 abscesses and so much scar tissue that I had to have surgery as my sigmoid colon was closing up. I had surgery and now I feel fantastic. Best thing I ever did. You are doing everything right. Don't change your lifestyle. Just change it up a bit when you have a flair. The others are right something might have just triggered this episode and you may never have another. I wish a speedy recovery for you and feel free to message me with questions.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      BarbaraKemR- Good to hear! I've had 4 flare-ups since January and think that it's time to consider surgery. Was your surgery laparoscopic? How long did it take to resume normal activities and normal eating?

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi there, yes my surgery was laparoscopic. I had 4 incisions however I also had a longer cut just above the pubic bone of about 5 inches. I recovered quickly and I was 60 at the time. I had my surgery on the Monday, was out by Thursday and grocery shopping on Friday. I walked kinda slow though. They had me eating regular food the next day after surgery. As far as back to regular activity such as exercise and such it was the usual 6 weeks. After my 6 week follow up appointment. It's been a year for me as of this past May 15. My bowel habits are so normal now going 2 to 3 times a day after meals. Almost textbook like lol. Some interesting facts though, I get tighter BM's to the point of almost constipation sometimes. Which is interesting because I was told that I could possibly be the opposite due to the surgery. So I have to drink lots of water and eat 3 prunes every day. And prior to surgery I had NEVER been constipated. I can eat whatever I want. Although I don't eat pork or much red meat and no diary or gluten as I have other sensitivities. Feel totally normal now. I have no regrets having done the surgery. Keep in touch. Ask lots of questions. I'm here if you need.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up