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Psyllium Husks and Diverticulitis

author image Adam Cloe
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Psyllium Husks and Diverticulitis
Psyllium husk in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Photo Credit Heike Rau/iStock/Getty Images

Many people develop small pouches in the large intestines known as diverticula. These small pouches occur when portions of the colon bulge through weak points in the intestinal wall. If these pouches become inflamed, it results in a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be treated or prevented with dietary changes, including the use of psyllium husks.

Diverticulitis Symptoms

Diverticulitis results from irritation and inflammation of the diverticula in the large intestine. One of the most common symptoms, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders explains, is abdominal pain, which can occur suddenly or develop over a period of time. Diverticulitis may also cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, cramping and a change in bowel habits. It may also result in internal bleeding or the development of an intestinal obstruction, which can prevent feces from being excreted.

Diverticulitis and FIber

Diverticulitis is more common in areas where people follow a low-fiber diet, the Mayo Clinic states. If you have a low fiber diet, your feces can become unusually dry and hard, resulting in constipation. When you are constipated, you have to use more force to have a bowel movement, which can result in diverticula formation. If you want to prevent diverticulitis, you should increase the amount of fiber in your diet. A high fiber diet can also be used to treat diverticulitis.


Psyllium is a commonly used form of soluble fiber. Psyllium comes from the plant Plantago ovata -- an herb that resembles a shrub and can be found primarily in India, though it grows throughout the world. The Plantago ovata produces thousands of small gel-coated seeds that are harvested as psyllium husk. Psyllium husk swells when it comes into contact with water and it forms a gel, making it suitable as a form of soluble fiber.

Psyllium and Diverticulitis

If you have diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend that you take between 3 and 5 g of psyllium husk each day, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. You should always take psyllium supplements with water and make sure that you get enough fluid intake throughout the day because otherwise the psyllium can become lodged in your digestive tract. You should also make sure to get between 25 and 35 g of fiber in your diet each day if you have diverticulitis.

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