Diverticulitis is an acute disease that can reoccur if the wrong food is consumed. Are you wondering if pickles are bad for you with this condition, what to eat, and what to avoid? The answer is you should use fiber-rich food and take strict dietary measures in diverticulitis. Dry fruits, popcorn, corn-like food, and pickles can worsen your condition.
As a common medical health challenge, there have been several recommendations made by healthcare providers in the past that some foods such as popcorn, nuts, and seeds should be avoided by people suffering from diverticulosis.
This is because they perceive that such foods could enter or block the diverticula.
Nonetheless, recent studies have shown that none of these foods are inimical but beneficial to some patients because they are high in fiber. And since all patients are not the same, some particular food may worsen the symptoms of diverticulosis if taken.
Research shows that about 200,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. for diverticulitis yearly and about 71,000 yearly for diverticular bleeding.
Could eating pickles be one of the factors that result in these challenges? So, we’ll be digging into whether it’s safe to take pickles with diverticulitis.
Table of Contents
What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a medical condition where diverticula (small pouches in the intestine) become infected or inflamed.
It typically comes with constipation, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain.
In the United States, over 50% of people above 60 have diverticular disease.
Having uninfected or uninflamed pouches implies you have diverticulosis, which usually comes with no symptoms. Research shows that less than 5% of people suffering from diverticulosis will experience diverticulitis.
Further studies suggest that a high-fiber diet can help reduce the risk of a new episode of diverticulitis after recovery from one.
Serious complications of diverticulitis
The National Institutes of Health shows that diverticulitis can develop suddenly and may result in serious complications.
Check out some of these complications below:
- Peritonitis (inflammation or infection in the abdominal cavity)
- Perforation in the colon
- Food or stool blockage via the intestines
- A fistula (abnormal connection or passageway between organs or vessels that usually do not connect)
- An abscess (pus-filled cavity caused by infection)
Foods and diverticulitis: Are pickles appropriate?
People pickle a wide variety of foods. These include standard and brined cucumbers and fermented vegetable products. The recommended healthiest pickles are slices, spears, or whole, small cucumbers soaked in spices, salt, and vinegar.
Cucumber pickles are not uncommon types of pickles in the United States. They are studied to have some health benefits by being a source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and age-related macular degeneration.
Researchers claimed that pickles are typically rich in vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium, and folate). And they offer some potential health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, reduced cell damage, and aid in weight loss.
Although science supports the claims that pickles are great, studies have shown that they may affect some individuals negatively.
So, the question is, “can they affect people with diverticulitis?”
Foods to avoid with diverticulitis
Eating some foods when suffering from diverticulitis can make your symptoms worse.
You should avoid foods like:
- Coarse grains
- Dried fruits
Consuming foods like these can make you suffer from diverticulitis again after it’s treated. This is why you must consult your doctor before eating pickles.
In addition, you should avoid too much intake of beverages (such as tea, coffee, and alcohol), which can worsen constipation.
Foods to eat with diverticulitis
You should know that the moment diverticula form, they don’t leave the intestine again.
To avoid future inflammation, the consumption of fiber and liquid in large quantities is recommended. Also, for the symptoms of diverticulitis, dietary modifications are necessary.
Check out below the proper food recommended when battling with diverticulitis:
- Liquid Diet: After a healthcare provider’s diagnosis and you’re confirmed to have diverticulitis, a liquid diet could be recommended as your colon heals. Until there is an improvement in your symptoms (usually between 2 and 4 days), you will have to avoid consuming solid foods.
- Low-Fiber Foods: After the first episode and being cleared by your healthcare provider that you can consume solid foods, ensure you take only low-fiber foods. This will help encourage your healing. Low-fiber foods can effectively stop bloating and gas as you heal.
- Foods With More Fiber: As you are experiencing an impressive improvement in your health, you should increase your fiber consumption. This will help prevent the reoccurrences of the condition.
You may need to consult your healthcare provider to know the exact amount of fiber you need to add (between 5 and 26 grams a day may be recommended).
|Low fiber foods
|Food with more fiber
|Seedless & skinless cooked/canned fruit & vegetables
|Fresh fruits and vegetables
Clear juices (like apple juice)
Frozen juice pops
|Food made with whole wheat flour
|Food made with white flour (bread and crackers)
How to get rid of Diverticulitis
You are expected to consult your doctor when you see symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, rectal bleeding, or vomiting) and have previously been diagnosed with diverticular disease.
For those experiencing the mild stage of diverticulitis, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic, including:
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or amoxicillin
- Clavulanic acid (Augmentin)
Until you see improvement in your symptoms, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to reduce the pain and a low-fiber/liquid diet.
After your symptoms improve, you will need to gradually return to soft foods before finally taking a more normal diet (with many high-fiber foods). See your doctor for a professional treatment plan.
For those experiencing the severe stage of diverticulitis (involving rectal bleeding or a repeat bout of diverticulitis), your doctor may recommend an immediate admission to the Healthcare Centre to receive IV fluids, intravenous (IV) antibiotics, or opt for surgery.
What causes diverticulitis?
The exact cause of diverticulitis is yet to be unveiled. But healthcare providers envisage that the condition may emanate from consuming insufficient fiber in diets.
The intake of enough low-fiber processed foods such as crackers, white bread, and many breakfast cereals can cause constipation.
This can consequently lead to straining and movement of bowels, which result in the formation of tiny sacs or pouches in the intestine. Diverticulitis can develop if stool collects in these pouches.
How can I prevent diverticulitis?
You have a lower risk of developing diverticulitis if you eat a well-balanced diet with enough vegetables and fruit.
Can you eat bananas with diverticulitis?
Yes, bananas are high-fiber foods. Eating them may help prevent future occurrences.
When Is surgery necessary for diverticulitis?
Surgery is chiefly required when diverticulitis fails to respond to treatment. This is done by draining any collections of pus and removing the segment of the colon (especially the sigmoid colon) surgically from where the diverticula are.
In the case of persistent bleeding diverticula, surgical removal will be required. Also, surgery will be necessary if the diverticula erodes into other organs (like the adjacent bladder/colovesical fistula), leading to severe recurrent urine infections and gas passage when urinating.