Diverticular disease

Edited , 5 users are following.


My name is Helen and two weeks ago I had a colonoscopy due to weight loss and change in bowel habits.

They told me that I had significant Diverticular Disease with narrowing and stretching of the Sigmoid Colon. They also removed a sessile serrated polyp which needs further investigation.

On reading about this condition there appears little they can do medically. I already eat fibre in the form of fruit and veg but the amount of times I need to visit the bathroom after eating and the pain involved is having a major impact on my life.

I was hoping that some of you may have some helpful hints and tips on managing these symptoms.

Thanks for your time and hope you are having a good day .


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  • Posted

    Hi...I was diagnosed with this disease about 4 years ago. I have had many flare ups, been hospitalized twice. This is not an easy disease to handle. After the flare ups when I finally got to the point of adding fiber is when it would hurt me again. What works for you might not work for anyone else and vice versa. I had my sigmoid colon removed in August 2019. It was the best decision for me. I was in pain more than not in pain. Although I still have the disease, the worst part of my colon is gone and I don't hurt. Keep a food diary and see what makes the changes for you. Good luck!!

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  • Edited

    Hi Helen

    Glad to hear you got yourself checked out - far too many people don't. I hope the further tests come back clear. Over 50% of people over 50 have it, mostly without complications and that rises to about 75% over 80!!

    From your spelling of fibre and that you don't think anything can be done medically, I am guessing you are in the UK. Here, they will not do anything unless you present with a life threatening complication, like a fistula, blockage etc. Had you been in the USA you are far more likely to have been whipped into surgery and had a chunk of your colon removed. There are pro's and con's for the surgery - for some people it is essential. But as you will read here, it is major surgery, and complications can arise.

    I was diagnosed with severe Diverticular Disease in 2000, with multiple diverticula, thickening and twisting of the colon. I have managed with diet, and had just 6 flares in that time. Fibre is recommended, but the trick is to have soluble fibre, rather than insoluble, which aggravates the already damaged and/or inflamed insides. Many people will advise you of different foodstuffs to avoid, like nuts, seeds, pips, meat, dairy -the list is endless. But basically I cut out skins - potato, apple, tomato etc, even though they are good for you and full of insoluble fibre, and I had to switch to gluten free products. We are all different - one size does not fit all - which is why the medical advise is so bland, wishy washy and vague.

    Your best bet is to keep a food diary and link your pains to what you ate in the previous 24 hours or so, to try and work out what seems to upset you. From day 1 I have taken a soluble fibre supplement, first Fybogel, and more recently Inulin (since being diagnosed with diabetes and having to reduce sugars). I take it first thing in half a pint of water and chug it down quickly. It bulks and softens the stools and helps them pass more easily. An empty colon is a good colon. You will go more frequently, but it is better to empty without straining which can do further damage inside you.

    If you get niggly pains the best thing is to go on a clear liquid only diet for 48 hours, then slowly introduce low fibre bland white pap - boiled rice, steamed fish, mash, crustless white bread, slowly introducing more soluble fibre after a few days. Normally you just have some inflammation which improves if the bowels have a rest. You don't need medication for inflammation usually - certainly my GP never prescribes if I don't have symptoms of an infection. If the pains increase, then do see your GP as an emergency, particularly if you spike a temperature, have fevers, as then you will have an infection which may well require medication.

    DRINK LOTS OF WATER - yes you will run more to the loo, but it's the best thing for you. I'm sure lots of others will advise you, and I suggest you search for a post Divi Diners for food ideas. This is manageable in most cases and I lead a totally normal active life for a 70 year old, swimming 4 days a week, and previously playing competitive sport and power walking. (Yes I do know where all the public loos are wherever I'm going, just in case. I also carry spare pants and wet wipes, also just in case). Best wishes.

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    • Edited


      I'm so glad I read your post.

      I was diagnosed with diverticulitis 2 years ago and have had a lot of flare ups.

      my daughter thinks I've got an eating disorder when I go on liquid but it's only because she doesn't understand.

      it's the only thing that helps, then I get to eat chippy chips once its settled down yum.

      definitely soluble fibre is the way to go for me.

      I've also had to become aware of where loos are these days. It's so embarrassing, especially when stood in a queue to go through passport control. new clothes needed and no help from anyone.

      like the brownies say "be prepared".

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    • Posted

      Glad it helped - perhaps you should show the post to your daughter so she can see that others have the same issues. I don't have an eating disorder, unless you call trying to follow a diabetic friendly eating plan one!!!

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  • Posted

    I should have mentioned 2 things. I only classify a flare as when I need to take antibiotics, not every time I have a pain. When I can control by just following a liquid only diet, I blame myself for eating the wrong foods. And when I do have a flare, depending on the severity, it has taken between 6 weeks and quite a few months for the pain to clear to just the occasional twinge.

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  • Edited


    Thanks for all your replies, you have no idea how much I appreciate them. I am of the opinion that that you have to help yourself, but how can you do that when you haven't got a clue?

    mjf3814 your detective work is extremely enviable and made me laugh. So a bit of back ground. I am from the north west of the UK and I am 55 years old. I also have weak muscles due to my immune system damaging them.

    Constipation has never been an issue for me (never thought I would be discussing my bowel movements with anyone) so I wonder if my immune system is also attacking my colon? I suspect when I get to see the consultant he will dismiss this out of hand and insist that it is due to constipation and straining.

    I have started to follow your advice and began a food dairy, though I would imagine this is a long process as all food seems to affect me at the moment. I currently only eat once a day due to the pain and feel so much better not eating.

    A comment you made Mjf3814 struck a cord.......'an empty colon is a good colon' the best I felt was after taking that 'lovely' Moviprep.

    Hope you are all good


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