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Discharge Instructions for Diverticulitis

You have been diagnosed with diverticulitis. This is a condition in which small pouches form in your colon (large intestine) and become inflamed or infected. Follow the guidelines below for home care.

As you recover

Tips for recovery include:

  • Eat a low-fiber diet at first while you recover. Your healthcare provider may advise a liquid diet. This gives your bowel a chance to rest so that it can recover.

  • Foods to include: flake cereal, mashed potatoes, pancakes, waffles, pasta, white bread, rice, applesauce, bananas, eggs, fish, poultry, tofu, and well-cooked vegetables

  • Take your medicines as directed. Don't stop taking the medicines, even if you feel better.

  • Monitor your temperature and report any rise in temperature to your healthcare provider.

  • Take antibiotics exactly as directed. Don't miss any and keep taking them even if you feel better. 

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, unless told otherwise.

  • Use a heating pad or hot water bottle to reduce abdominal cramping or pain.

Preventing diverticulitis in the future

Tips for prevention include:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber adds bulk to the stool so that it passes through the large intestine more easily.

  • Keep drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, unless told otherwise.

  • Start an exercise program. Ask your healthcare provider how to get started. You can benefit from simple activities such as walking or gardening.

  • Treat diarrhea with a bland diet. Start with liquids only, then slowly add fiber over time.

  • Watch for changes in your bowel movements (constipation to diarrhea).

  • Prevent constipation with fiber and add a stool softener if needed. 

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised. Your provider may recommend a colonoscopy or other imaging test of your colon.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Severe cramps in the belly, most commonly the lower left side

  • Tenderness in the belly, most commonly the lower left side

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Bleeding from your rectum

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: John Hanrahan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016
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