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DIVERTICULOSIS & DIVERTICULITIS

When to Seek Medical Care

See your health care provider if you have any of the following, which may indicate a serious condition.

Any time you have bleeding from your rectum, you should see your health care provider right away.

This is true even if the bleeding stops on its own.

Bleeding may be a sign of diverticulitis or other serious diseases.

If there is a lot of blood or a steady flow of blood, go to a hospital emergency department immediately.

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The following symptoms suggest a complication and warrant an immediate visit to an emergency department.

  • Vomiting so severe that you can't keep anything down
  • Severe pain or other symptoms that you had before when you had diverticulitis

Do not attempt to drive yourself. Have a family member or companion drive you, or call 911 for emergency medical transport. Calling for an ambulance often speeds your trip to the hospital when you think you have an emergency.

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Self-Care at Home

These measures can help heal existing diverticula and prevent new diverticula from forming.

Eat a high-fiber diet. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dried beans, peas, and lentils. These foods contain elements that your body cannot digest and are passed through your colon.

Drink plenty of fluids to help keep stools soft.

Get plenty of physical activity to keep bowels functioning properly.

Prevention

Eating a high-fiber diet is the mainstay of diverticulosis and diverticulitis prevention.

Starting a high-fiber diet may not make the diverticula you already have go away, but it will decrease your risk of complications and the accompanying symptoms.

Foods high in fiber include whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits (apples, berries, peaches, pears), vegetables (squash, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach), and dried beans, peas, and lentils.

Drinking plenty of fluids will also help your stool stay soft and pass quickly, decreasing your risk for diverticulosis.

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