Diet is an important part of the management of diverticulitis or colitis. In diverticular disease, small pockets or pouches form in the wall of the colon; when these pouches get inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine; this can be caused by irritable bowel disease, an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's, or infections. When you have either of these conditions, you have to make some changes in your diet during the flare-ups to aid in your recovery.
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First Stage -- Clear Liquid Diet
Symptoms that can occur with both conditions include fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. During this phase of the disease, your doctor may start various medications like antibiotics and put you on a clear liquid diet as well. A clear liquid diet allows your bowel to rest and gives it a chance to heal. Some foods that acceptable during a clear liquid diet include broth, clear juices like grape, apple, and cranberry, popsicles, and water or ice chips. You should remain on this diet for 2 to 3 days before you advance to more solid foods.
Second Stage -- Low Fiber Foods
As your condition begins to improve, your doctor will advance your diet to include low fiber foods. A low fiber diet still gives your gastrointestinal tract the opportunity to heal while increasing the nutrients that you consume. Foods that may be part of this diet include canned or cooked fruit, eggs, dairy products, tender cooked meat, pasta, and white rice. You should add foods with fiber to your diet gradually as your symptoms improve -- with the guidance of your physician.
Third Stage -- High Fiber Diet
If you have diverticular disease or colitis, you should generally be on a high fiber diet when you are not having a flare-up, according to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Fiber can soften your stool, remove toxins, and lower the pressure in your intestine, which may prevent flare-ups. Both insoluble fiber, which is found in whole grains and soluble fiber, which is found in vegetables and fruits are healthy for you. Foods that contain large amounts of fiber include beans, brown rice, bran, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and rice, fruits and broccoli. You should add the fiber into your diet slowly because you may experience constipation or gas and bloating; you also have to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation.
Diet Considerations for Diverticular Disease
According to The Ohio State University Medical Center, people with diverticular disease should avoid certain forms of fiber like nuts, corn, popcorn, and certain fruits like berries. Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology, however, notes that these foods are good sources of fiber and should be included in the diets of diverticulosis patients. You should discuss including these foods in your own diet with your physician.
Diet Considerations for Colitis
Colitis can be caused by several different conditions and each condition might require additional consideration when planning a diet. People with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome may have to monitor the amount of fiber they consume as it may cause gas and bloating. Since fiber is important to gastrointestinal health and should be a significant part of the stage three diet, you should speak with your physician concerning your level of fiber intake according to your disease. You may also need some supplementation if you are at risk for malnutrition; your physician can help with this as well.