How I’m living with diverticulitis, the products and the choices that help me every day to get through it and stop flair ups from happening. Most of you probably don’t know that I’m currently living with the bowel disorder diverticulitis. A lot of people are living with it these days without even knowing it. There is a TON of research out there and the only one true fact about it is that its different for absolutely everyone but I’ve found FOUR products that have helped me a lot!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. What works for me and my body may not work for yours. I am a true natural health believer but all of my suggestions must be taken with a grain of salt. Before trying anything you should first speak to a health care professional. Also, there is a bit of TMI in the following post and I apologize ahead of time for that.
This is a DIY, wood working and home design blog so I haven’t mentioned these problems about myself in the past for just that reason. However, diverticulitis is a part of my life and does affect me and my projects here. My first real flair up was about three years ago when Joe and I were in the middle of renovating this house and living with my mom. It was like no pain I had ever experienced. It was so severe it knocked the wind out of me and, truly, scared me. It happened really early in the morning and the pain was so bad I honestly thought I had food poisoning but, strangely, I had no other symptoms besides the pain. (Its like a constant stab in the lower left side of your stomach, just above your hip that streaks across to the other side. Oftentimes women mistake it for ovary or uterus pain though it is not what you could call a “cramp”.)
Except for the fact that I wasn’t getting much sleep the pain would usually be gone by the time I had to go to work and by the afternoon I was usually feeling like my normal self, albeit very tired and tender. (I was going to the bathroom like normal too… at least “normal” for me which, back then, was a couple of urgent trips in the morning with diarrhea.) Eventually I realized that if I didn’t eat solid food I didn’t have any pain and eventually I got weak enough to finally go in to a doctor who diagnosed me. (I’m very stubborn, and we’re poor with a VERY high deductable, so it took three weeks of misery before I finally made an appointment.)
Since my diagnosis I’ve had two flair ups and, yes, it is totally awful. My diet for the past decade has been one that totally excludes white sugar and bread of any kind. I never eat fast food: basically I live on lean meat, potatoes and lettuce. I’m also really not fond of dairy besides cheese so I eat very little of it. It never dawned on me that I wasn’t getting enough fiber in my diet until I started doing more research about diverticulitis and pretty much everyone with it says to eat a lot more fiber.
So, I found this stuff highly recommended on Amazon: Premium Psyllium Fiber Supplement. This is a HUGE dose of fiber and the fact that I started out with two a day for a week before I saw any kind of change just goes to show how badly I needed it. Now I take an average of just one or two a week but this eliminated my awful running to the bathroom with diarrhea 3-4 times every morning and all of my horrible bloating is now gone. On top of that, with no change to my diet, I’ve even lost a couple of pounds and everything is just: better.
What made me finally start looking into fiber etc. was because after all that “going” in the morning I would end up feeling constipated in the afternoons which didn’t even seem plausible! Like I had literally eaten rocks for lunch and that was totally regardless of what I ate. So I also started carrying this with me: Betaine HCI Pepsin and Gentian Bitters. Initially, I took one a meal and worked my way up to SEVEN, before I noticed any kind of difference (If you take too much it will give you heart burn and I never have heart burn so I cut back immediately.) Now I take one with just about every meal, sometimes I forget and that’s ok. All of my afternoon horrors of bloating and feeling icky are now gone. My pants fit again lol.
They say now that there is absolutely no research that proves that seeds and nuts cause diverticulitis flair ups even though a lot of people with diverticulitis swear that if they eat two poppy seeds it will kill them. I had never noticed anything specific that I ate that caused flair ups until this summer. One of my very favorite things are cucumbers raw out of the garden. Yeah, after three days of laying on the floor crying and still eating cucumbers it finally dawned on me that they might be what was causing my current issue. Of course by the time the flair up happens all I can do is STOP eating solid food.
Just about everyone says that if they go to the doctor on a flair up all that the doctor will do is put them on antibiotics, hold them over night and starve them. Well, I can easily starve myself at home (thank you very much) and unless I am literally on my death bed I won’t take antibiotics. But I also don’t just lay there and suffer. I have two things in my arsenal against infections that have saved me countless times and have kept me well in the face of everyone around me getting sick. Oregano oil and Colloidal silver.
The hardest part about a diverticulitis flair up is that even though you may be on the ground writhing in agony (I once literally burned myself from a heating pad on my stomach and I didn’t even notice – this heating pad helped me get through my last flair up) it doesn’t affect your digestion or whether or not you’re hungry. So, you’re laying there, feeling like death and your stomach is growling. I take as much colloidal silver as is recommended on the bottle and then I just drink down 5-10 drops of oregano oil on a little warm water whenever I feel like it. Yes, drinking straight oregano oil will put hair on your chest, but it also works. They make oregano oil capsules too but I find that it has more impact as a “liquid” that makes it worth it to choke down. (Yes our house smells like an Italian restaurant if one of us is sick lol and yes you can use oregano oil for cooking I find just a few drops is plenty for an entire pot of spaghetti.)
I’ve had stomach problems my whole life from being lactose intolerant when I was little to just having a really sensitive system so none of this is “new” to me. But the pain of a diverticulitis flair up was really like nothing I have ever known and that’s saying something: I had appendicitis when I was 14 and have lived through multiple injuries throughout the years including a crushed vertebrae in my neck. Nothing compares and it is brutal but it is also manageable.
If I can figure it out, so can you and healing is a possibility for ALL of us!
All four of the products I recommended are taken liberally by people who DON’T have diverticulitis just for over all health and well being.
- Premium Psyllium Fiber Supplement
- Betaine HCI Pepsin and Gentian Bitters
- Oregano oil
- Colloidal silver
I know I will be asked so YES I have tried taking probiotics and I’ve even tried eating organic unsweetened yogurt every day. None of it helped, in fact, the yogurt just made me feel ickier and gave me even worse diarrhea (yuck to dairy) and the probiotics helped some in the beginning but eventually did nothing for me. I know there are MANY different kinds of probiotics and, perhaps, I just didn’t have the right kind.