Newly diagnosed, diverticulosis with IBS-D

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I am 65 years old and struggling to get over my third attack of diverticulitis this year. I managed the previous two attacks with diet, but this one is being very stubborn. I have not needed antibiotics, and have discussed with my doctor what conditions might prompt us to use them. I have had two colonoscopies, one within the last 5 years.

From the research I have done, it does seem that constipation is a big factor for most people with diverticulosis/itis. I have never had constipation in my life. Rather, I have always been prone to frequent, urgent, loose stools. Because of that, for the past 20 years, I have been taking Immodium every morning after my first bowel movement. If I don't take it, I end up hurrying to the bathroom several times a day with what I would describe as "oozing" (not liquid diarrhea,  just very, very loose and impossible to control). 

The dietary recommendations for diverticulosis seem geared to people with constipation -- high fiber diet, etc. Years ago, a doctor I was seeing suggested that I try a fiber supplement to help with the frequent, loose stools. The result was that I still had urgent, frequent stools -- with cramps! Yay! My output was nicely formed and "normal." However, overall I felt worse off than before I started the fiber supplement.

I would like to exchange thoughts with someone in a similar situation to mine -- that is, diagnosed with diverticulosis, having attacks of diverticulitis, but also no history of constipation. Have you found a diet that works with all of that?

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  • Posted

    Hi Susan, had exactly the same symptons for many years and likewise was told to eat more fiber (?).  Am veggie and have always (well almost) eaten well so that didn't add up however, it would be good to read through the older postings if you have time.  I lot of us now taken probiotics which seems to have helped us a lot.  Might be worth having a go.  Hope this helps.
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  • Posted

    Hi Susan,what was the fiber upplement called that you tried?i was having lots of loose stools and the practice nurse told me about Lepicol which has been a god send for me,its from Holland and barrat and its completly natural and also has probiotics in it aswell.
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  • Posted

    Thanks, ladies! I don't remember what fiber supplement I took, as it was years ago. I am definitely going to try a probiotic and will look for Lepicol or something similar. Thanks again!
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  • Posted

    It sounds as though you are suffering primarily from IBS.  A high fiber diet is not going to help you control that - quite the opposite.  Your diverticulosis seems to be in remission I would say. Often people have diverticular sacs which are discovered from a colonoscopy or scan. Many people have these sacs with no symptoms. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Donna,Lepicol is used for IBS, Diverticulosis and other digestive problemsits good for regulating you whether you suffer from diarrhea or constipation if Susan looks on their website it will confirm this,there are lots of testimonials from people who suffer from IBS troubles.I do hope it helps her as well as it has helped me with my diverticulosis.
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    • Posted

      Hi Donna. Thanks for your response. The diverticulitis episodes just started this year. Prior to that, I knew I had diverticulosis (identified in my latest colonoscopy) but had not had any flare-ups. I am concerned that having three of these episodes in five months is a very bad sign that there is more to come. By "episodes" I mean sharp lower left abdominal quadrant pain, chills and aches for 1 day, then just pain and fatigue, resolving through diet in about 5 days. This episode is taking longer.
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  • Posted

    Hi Susan, Yes you could be right about your recent flare.  I am 63 and my last flare was the first week of January 2016 and lasted until early May. I am just feeling better now, but absolutley need to take pro-biotics daily. I do not respond well to a very high fiber diet as I find, for example brown rice very hard to digest. There has been some research indicating that once diverticulities pouches, stranding and narrowing of the bowel make it difficult to pass very high fibre foods. I am finding at this time (almost 10 years since the onset of diverticulitis) that small portions of cooked veg, mince/chicken, mash, poached fruit etc agree with me the most. Hope this is of some help to you. 
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    • Posted

      Donna - I meant to ask you - when you say that your last flare lasted from the first week of Jan. to early May, what symptoms did you have during that flare? How did you know the "flare" was over? I am trying to gauge the beginning and end of a "flare" by the pain level, with the idea that if there is very little pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, it's safe to begin leaving the clear liquids diet behind. I know we are all different, but it would help me to understand how others define a "flare up".
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    • Posted

      Hi Susan, The flare was quite bad.  Lots of abdominal pain, straining to have a BM followed by loose stools, nausea, cramping when I ate then followed by more loose stools see sawing between constipation and loose stools.  Pain in my left side radiating to my back. 

      I went on hospital prepared foods for a diverticular diet.  We have a company here that you can buy frozen meals from for a variety of different illnesses. The one for diverticulities consists of small portions of 2 cooked veg, potatoes or brown rice and a small portion of meat usually mince in form of meatloaf, meatballs with a variety of plain sauces, chicken in a number of ways with no skin, soups,  poached fruit for dessert. Breakfast is a small bran mufffin, poached fruit, coffee , tea etc.

      I go on these meals after 2-3 days on a clear diet. 

      This time was   a long haul to get well enough that I did not  have cramping and pain in my side and back.

      Went out for a meal first time last weekend since the first of January. 

      I take a fiber suppliment morning and evening as well as a probiotic in pill form to keep stools formed and easy to pass.

      The right food and no alchohol is the key for me to get back on track.  Kind of like meals our parents made - plain meat and potatoes, cooked veges. in very small portions 2X a day, and breakfast. 

      When in a flare I  also get bile reflux which is very painful under my breast bone.  I can't even wear a bra comfortably.  This is a real neusance especially in the summer. I purchase specialty soft cotton bras.

      Hope this helps. Donna

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    • Posted

      I forgot to tell you that I don't eat wheat bread now - just oat bread for toast with 1 scrambled egg.  Too many eggs causes constipation as well. I can tolerate plain toasted muffins with a little marmalade.  I can use a little butter instead of marg., but all meats I eat are low fat, no skin, rich gravies, no sausage etc.  Friends have joked that my meals look like something their parents prepared during the war. Funny  Best - Donna
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  • Posted

    I was only diagnosed 15 months ago and like you have never suffered with constipation and my bowel habits were very normal but I started going frequently up to seven times a day not loose but normal consistency. After being diagnosed I too was advised a high fibre diet which made the condition so much worse. I have been having a flare up for several weeks now and had anti biotics and mebeverine this has not helped much and I think I'm just going to have to trial cutting out various foods until I find what is causing the flare ups. I just need to know what I can take to ease the pains in my tummy, hips and back. I am sixty next month and this forum has taught me that this is a very individual experience as everones triggers and solutions are different. It has started to make me feel so miserable as daily pain is getting me down. I hope you find the right diet to ease things . I will post my results if I find anything to help x
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    • Posted

      I have just got over my second flaire up in 3 weeks this time I wouldn't go on antibiotics which my Dr wanted me two but I insisted on a blood test and went on a fluid diet for 3 days which work and my blood test was normal so pleased I didn't take the antibiotics .
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    • Posted

      That sounds horrible, Vicky. I hope you can find a solution. At one point (BEFORE the diverticulitis but in an attempt to address my IBS-D) I tried gluten-free, but it had no effect. I dread the thought that dairy may be a problem for me because I adore cheese and the occasional milkshake or Moo-Latte from Dairy Queen.
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