Lifestyle Changes for Diverticular Disease
If you have symptoms of diverticulosis, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation, your NYU Langone gastroenterologist may suggest making lifestyle changes to help you feel better and prevent complications, such as infection and bleeding.
A diet high in fiber helps to keep stool soft, easing its passage through the colon. It can also reduce inflammation in the colon. Foods that are high in fiber include grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
A nutritionist or registered dietitian at NYU Langone can create a meal plan that focuses on high-fiber foods. It’s important to drink plenty of water with these foods.
If you are diagnosed with diverticulitis, in which an infection occurs, your doctor may temporarily recommend other dietary approaches while you heal. For example, a low-residue diet contains foods that are easy to digest, reducing the frequency of bowel movements. After the infection has cleared, doctors usually recommend resuming a high-fiber diet.
Physical activity helps keep your bowels moving. Try to fit light-to-moderate exercise—like walking, running, or yoga—into your schedule every day.
Studies have found that smoking increases the risk of complications of diverticular disease, such as bleeding or diverticulitis. NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Programs can help you quit for good.
Water, clear fluids, and vegetable juice can help keep stool soft. If you’re taking fiber supplements, it’s important to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation.