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Diverticulosis: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

In diverticulosis, pouches called diverticula form in the wall of the large intestine (colon). The pouches do not cause any pain or other symptoms. Most people who have diverticulosis do not know they have it. But the pouches sometimes bleed, and if they become infected, they can cause pain and other symptoms. When this happens, it is called diverticulitis.

Diverticula form when pressure pushes the wall of the colon outward at certain weak points. A diet that is too low in fibre can cause diverticula.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Include fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fibre.
  • Take a fibre supplement, such as Benefibre or Metamucil, every day if needed. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Cut out foods that cause gas, pain, or other symptoms.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have belly pain.
  • You pass maroon or very bloody stools.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.
  • You have unusual changes in your bowel movements or abdominal swelling.
  • You have burning pain when you urinate.
  • You have abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • You have shoulder pain.
  • You have cramping pain that does not get better when you have a bowel movement or pass gas.
  • You pass gas or stool from your urethra while urinating.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.