Treating Diverticulitis Flare without Antibiotics

Posted , 7 users are following.

I'm interested as to whether any of you has been able to successfully handle flares simply by dietary changes (liquid diet, followed by soft, then slowly working back to normal). The usual antibiotic regimen (at least here in the states) of Flagyl and Cipro make me so ill that I'd rather have the diverticulitis symptoms. Seriously, I felt like I wanted to die last time I tried this and wound up not completing the courses.

Two questions, in particular:

  • How long did it take for the symptoms to completely disappear?
  • How slowly did you work back into your normal diet; that is, how many weeks (months) was it till you were eating as you were before the flare.

Thanks!

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  • Posted

    HI I was diagnosed 3 years ago and have never had antiobotics l had a really bad pain in my stomach lots of blood tests an ultrasound scan with contrast and an ultrasound without contrast l was in so much pain l called an ambulance at one time. l was given an endoscopy which showed diverticulitis, up until this endoscopy l was only able to eat liquids including soup because of the pain. l assume the fact l had only been on fluids l healed without antibiotics. since that attack l have had a few niggles and when this happens l go on a liquid diet until im feeling better. A lot of my problems are caused by constipation so l make sure l take COSMOCOL at the first hint of constipation. Before my colonoscopy l took the prep and l passed a lump of impacted poo and my consultant thinks that this was stuck in a pouch and caused the pain. sorry for the long reply.

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  • Posted

    I can only tell you about my experience. I am from the UK and 5 yrs ago was on holiday in Florida when I started getting low stomach pains but no fever or temperature I thought it was something I had eaten and the oharmacy gave me something to settle my stomach. Pain went on all day then in evening whilst bearing down to try and pass a motion I passed a blood clot.It scared me to death and husband took me to the hospital ER. Funnily after passing the clot the pain eased almost immediately. After tests for anemia etc they sent me home with a diagnoses of non specific stomach pain and advised to see DR when back in UK.I ate a very bland diet for the next 5 days before returning. My motions were mucusy (gross I know) but no pain and by the time I got home more or less back to normal. At no time did I take antibiotics or any other medications.My GP sent me for a colonoscopy where diverticulitis was found. The consultant said it had healed by itself and I was lucky and to just carry on as normal. Ive only had 3 flare ups since but didnt need antibiotics. When I go on holiday my Dr gives me antibiotics to take which is reassuring but I havent needed to take any yet but would take them in a heartbeat if I thought I needed to. Judging by my experience yes you can deal with this without antibiotics but I would always talk to your Dr first and take his advice as it could have been a very different story.

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  • Posted

    I have never had to have antibiotics for any of my bouts of diverticulitis. I have been lucky that I had inflammation with no infection. If there was infection it was most likely low grade. I have never had a raised temperature. Saying that, the pain was severe( walking the boards and rolling about pain!) but not on the scale of some of the poor souls who post.

    The first two episodes I had came and went in 2 weeks with waxing and waning type colic and passing blood with mucus. At the time I didn't know I was suffering with diverticulitis and it wasn't until I had a third episode that I went to the GP. I had follow up colonoscopies and biopsies taken to rule out IBD.

    For 5 years and between flares I would have low grade cramps almost on a daily basis, sometimes keeping me awake at nights.

    My last flare was one year ago and this was by far the worst. Again I did not have a raised temperature but the pain was now on a scale of 9 but would wax and wane over the day. I had stabbing in the lower left abdomen, passed blood and mucus and had worsening pelvic floor and bladder irritiation(not a UTI), back pain and thigh pain.....and awful cramps. I had fluids only for 48 hours and gradually added bland low fibre foods for a week, increasing soluble fibre and keeping insoluble fibre to a minimum. This worked for me but it took a good 6 weeks for me to feel well and without pain/niggles.

    I now eat a diet low in insoluble fibre and high in soluble fibre. This works for me and, by doing this, I have also been free of the daily pain I had been getting for years. Not sure why this is so but I do think it is due to cutting back on insoluble fibre. I stress that it works for me but might not for everyone. Diet does seem to be very much trial and error until you find the right combination of foods that suit your gut.

    But, yes, you can heal without antibiotics but you must be guided by your GP and always check if you have a raised temp and feel unwell. Infection can take hold quickly and escalate so you must be mindful that not all episodes of diverticulitis can heal on their own without antibiotics.

    x

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    • Posted

      Interesting, Brannie, that it's insoluble fiber that seems your trigger. My doc, and most of the literature, says the insoluble fiber is essential to preventing flares. I can relate, though, as after my second attack the doc said to start taking daily bulking supplements. I was immediately gassy and bloaty. I stopped them after a few days.

      That just goes to show how individual this disease can be, I think. We all have to figure out for ourselves what our triggers are, by trial and error.

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    • Posted

      l also eat a lot of fibre and loads of fruit and veg. l rarely eat meat apart from chicken as l find when l eat red meat l get pain as its hard to digest. l always cook from scratch and never eat processed food of any kind. it works for me and l have regular bowel movements which is extremely important if l do find myself becoming constipated l nip it in the bud. Even if my stools are pellet like this is a form of constipation so l take a stool softener. l dont have pain on a regular basis only if l eat something hard to digest which l rarely do. trial and error.

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    • Posted

      My bad, at least the first part. Sorry, Brannie, I got my fibers confused. You ARE doing what most docs suggest.

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    • Posted

      I will add that I have not eaten meat since 4 years of age and have followed a healthy vegetarian diet all my life with plenty of fruit and veg, wholefoods etc..I have never suffered with constipation. It came as a shock when I was diagnosed with "severe diverticulosis" and "diverticular disease".

      To ease my symptoms I found that I had to stop eating skins, seeds and spicey foods, etc....all the foods I had eaten in abundance for decades.

      All I was told after diagnosis of DD was to "increase your fibre intake and stop eating refined foods, make sure you drink more fluids", "avoid constipation". No one would believe that I had lived my life eating high fibre foods.

      In actual fact, I have found that in order to remain well I have to omit many of my usual "healthy " foods and op for a more "refined" diet....but sticking to soluble fibre foods. I also take psyillium (a soluble fibre)each day which which can help in cases of loose stool as well as constipation.

      Again I stress, this works for me.

      I hope you will feel better soon, MD.

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    • Posted

      l can no longer eat spicy food and l have also stopped eating skins on potatoes. l can only eat very little garlic l have cut out anything that irritates my gut

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  • Posted

    Thanks to you all for your detailed and -- might I say -- well-written answers. I am new to this form and am very impressed as the quality of content and courtesy of contributors.

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  • Posted

    Antibiotics have long been the 'go-to' for many people, doctors and patients alike, as they just want to see an improvement ASAP. Many are now realising that relying heavily on antibiotics for everything both leads to the obvious dangers of antibiotic resistance and also (and more important in some ways), wipes out both the good and bad bacteria. MD, you've found for yourself that the Cipro and Flagyl make you feel really bad and I have to say you're lucky that the Cipro hasn't left you with any lasting ailments (such as muscle pains). One study showed that it (and the other fluoroquinolones ) affect your microbiome for at least a year - and since it's your microbiome that does your digesting for you, I'm not sure how they think it helps in cases of DD!

    The comments here all indicate that it is possible to look after your gut without resorting to antibiotics, if you're careful about what you eat. There are a couple of good books out there which explain all about the gut and how it works and how different 'good' bacteria look after different types of foods. For example, the colonies that look after the greens you eat are very different to the ones that deal with sugar. You need to re-establish the optimum balance in your gut so that (hopefully) DD doesn't get a look in.

    As the other comments say, watch out for signs of infection but otherwise you can probably heal yourself if you take care over what you eat. Probiotics to help those good bacteria along are a good start. If you wind up needing antibiotics you would do well do not accept Cipro. You said you felt like you wanted to die last time and, believe me, some people end up with this feeling permanently after Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and all the other fluoroquinolone names. Ask for something that's NOT a fluoroquinolone.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Miriam. You really seem to have done your homework. You and my wife -- a nurse who's had colitis for almost a year now and is trying EVERYTHING to stop it -- would get along great!:)

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