Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when an out-pouching of the gastrointestinal system, known as diverticulosis, becomes inflamed or infected. A diet change is often required, along with antibiotic treatment for acute diverticulitis. When the out pouching is no longer inflamed, a different diet may be recommended. Miralax, a laxative, has not been shown to be harmful in either condition, but the advice of a physician should be sought before changing the diet or taking any type of laxative, as a diverticulitis attack may become serious.
Diet for Acute Diverticulitis
Acute diverticulitis may occur periodically in those with diverticulosis. It causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, which may be severe and may lead to nausea, fever and chills. It most often requires treatment with antibiotics such as metronidazole and ciprofloxacin, but if left untreated, may rupture and require surgery. The Mayo Clinic advises that dietary recommendations given during the attack initially include clear liquid diet with broth, gelatin and pulp-free fruit juices or ice pops. As you start to get better, you may begin to eat soft, low-fiber foods including canned or cooked fruit and vegetables with no seeds, eggs, fish, poultry and refined bread and pasta products, along with plenty of fluids.
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Diet for Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis occurs when pouches have developed along the intestinal tract, most commonly in the lower intestine. It is usually asymptomatic and is common among those who are older than 50 years of age, particularly men. Dietary recommendations for diverticulosis include a high-fiber diet with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and meats. Seeds and nuts should be avoided by some because they may lodge in the pouch and cause inflammation leading to diverticulitis. Red meat consumption may also be limited because it is difficult for some people to digest.
Miralax is a laxative containing Polyethylene Glycol 3350, which works to relieve constipation by keeping fluid in the intestines, allowing for a softer stool that is easier to pass. Although Miralax is not contraindicated in either diverticulosis or diverticulitis, it has also not been tested for those conditions. If you have constipation with diverticulitis or diverticulosis, consult your physician before using it.
There are several other laxatives which are used to treat constipation, but none have been tested in diverticulitis or diverticulosis. Other laxatives include stool softeners such as docusate sodium, saline laxatives such as milk of magnesia, stimulant laxatives such as bisacodyl or senna and fiber laxatives such as psyllium. Information from Johns Hopkins Medicine states that if you have constipation and know that you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis, you should ask your physician before using any laxative.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.