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Oatmeal and Diverticulitis

author image Linda H. Lamb
Linda H. Lamb is a veteran newspaper journalist whose experience includes over 10 years at "The State," South Carolina's largest newspaper. As its medical writer, she was named top beat reporter in the state (2003), with a special interest in nutrition-related issues including obesity, chronic disease management and cancer. Lamb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.
Oatmeal and Diverticulitis
You get even more fiber if you add fruit to your oatmeal. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Diverticulitis can cause you days of misery. Fortunately, preventing future attacks of the intestinal ailment can include simple remedies that are much more pleasant --- such as adding oatmeal to your diet. Eating more high-fiber foods is one of the habits that can ease your digestion difficulties and make diverticulitis flare-ups less likely. And adding whole-grain oatmeal can be a tasty part of that strategy.


Diverticulitis is closely related to diverticulosis, which you might have without even realizing it. With diverticulosis, small, bulging pouches form in your intestine, usually in the colon. According to MedlinePlus, it's a common condition, occurring in more than half of Americans over 60. One possible cause is a lack of dietary fiber, causing harder stools that put pressure on the colon. Small pieces of stool may be trapped in the pouches, causing the painful infection or inflammation of diverticulitis.

How Oatmeal Helps

Diverticulitis is rare in countries where people usually eat a high-fiber diet, notes MayoClinic.com. So it makes sense that fiber-rich foods, such as oatmeal, can help you avoid the condition. Oatmeal provides bulk that softens waste in your colon and helps it pass through more quickly. Also helpful are other high-fiber foods, including other whole grains and most fruits and vegetables.

Adding Oatmeal

Your doctor may advise rest, medication and fluids to help you recover from diverticulitis symptoms, which can include abdominal tenderness, bloating, fever and nausea. When you feel better, he may suggest that you gradually increase the fiber in your diet. Oatmeal, which can also help lower your cholesterol, makes a hearty breakfast, perhaps with some apples or berries for added nutrition. The American Dietetic Association also suggests that you add oatmeal to foods such as muffins, burgers, meat loaf and stuffing.

Other Recommendations

As you boost fiber in your diet and eat more oatmeal, be sure to drink ample amounts of water and other fluids, MayoClinic.com advises. That helps the fiber do its job as it absorbs water and keeps your stools soft. Don't delay using the bathroom when you feel the urge to go; failing to do so can cause harder stools and create more pressure in your colon. Finally, make an effort to exercise at least 30 minutes most days, which will help your digestive system function normally.

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