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Diverticulitis Flare-Ups: Causes, Management, and Relief Strategies

Diverticulitis Flare-Up


Diverticulitis describes a condition in which small bulging pouches in the digestive tract become inflamed or infected. This causes symptoms such as severe abdominal pain (most commonly felt in the left lower part of the abdomen), nausea, fever, and changes in bowel habits.

A diverticulitis flare-up refers to a sudden worsening of these symptoms, leading to an acute episode that requires medical attention. The unpredictability and discomfort associated with diverticulitis symptoms are significant. Flare-ups can occur without warning, making it challenging for patients to manage their condition and maintain everyday activities. The unpredictability also adds a psychological burden, as many may feel anxious or stressed about potential flare-ups and their impact on daily life.

What Causes Diverticulitis Flare-Ups? 

Diverticulitis flare-ups are believed to be caused by several factors, although the exact cause is not always clear. Key factors that may contribute to a flare-up include:

          It’s important to note that while these factors can increase the risk of a diverticulitis flare-up, not everyone with these risk factors will experience a flare-up, which can occur without any apparent cause.

          Diverticulitis Flare-Up Symptoms 

          Diverticulitis flare-ups manifest through various symptoms, each impacting the individual in different ways:

          • Abdominal pain, typically located in the lower left of the abdomen. This is often the first and most noticeable symptom, signaling a flare-up.
          • A fever can accompany a flare-up, indicating the body’s response to infection or inflammation.
          • Nausea and vomiting can arise from discomfort and inflammation in the digestive tract.
          • Changes in bowel habits can present as constipation or diarrhea.
          • Bloating and gas are caused by inflammation and infection.
          • Rectal bleeding, while less common, can occur if a blood vessel within a diverticulum bleeds, but this is usually a separate event, and generally does not occur within a diverticulitis attack

            Severe pain or pain accompanied by a fever signifies an acute episode, a serious condition that demands immediate medical attention and will likely be treated with antibiotics

            How Long Does A Diverticulitis Flare-Up Last? 

            The duration of diverticulitis flare-ups can vary widely among individuals, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks. The length can be influenced by several factors, including:

            • The severity of the inflammation
            • Your response to treatment 
            • Promptness of treatment
            • Complications such as abscesses or perforations
            • Your individual health and immune system
            • Lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise

            Managing a Diverticulitis Flare-Up

            Treatment options for diverticulitis symptoms generally include a combination of medical management and lifestyle modifications to alleviate symptoms and prevent future episodes. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the flare-up. 

            During a flare, over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen may be recommended to manage pain. Once the flare subsides, your doctor may recommend a high-fiber diet, as this can help prevent future episodes by keeping stools soft and reducing pressure in the colon. 

            Many take probiotics to help restore healthy gut bacteria, especially after a course of antibiotics. Probiotics could hypothetically reduce the risk of future flare-ups but more research is needed to support their routine use for this purpose. 

            Natural Remedies for Diverticulitis Flare-Up & Lingering Symptoms Post-Flare 

            Curcumin is a natural remedy extracted from turmeric that reduces inflammation by inhibiting TNFα (a key player in diverticulitis) and helps restore gut microbiome balance. Curcumin also boosts butyric acid-producing bacteria, essential for intestinal health and mitigating symptoms of diverticular diseases. Furthermore, it enhances beneficial gut bacteria, supporting overall gut health and potentially preventing diverticulitis flare-ups.

            Berberine, found in coptis herbs, exerts antimicrobial activity and increases butyrate production, which helps maintain a healthy intestinal environment and reduces inflammation. Berberine decreases inflammation by lowering TNF-α levels and helps repair the intestinal barrier by improving tight junction expression, which can be thought of as tightening the gaps between cells in the gut wall. Coptis also contains palmatine and jatrorrhizine, which improve its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. 

            Therefore, combining curcumin and berberine may be ideal for those with Symptomatic Uncomplicated Diverticular Disease (SUDD). This is a term for the ongoing, relapsing-remitting mild diverticulitis-like symptoms that start after an acute episode of diverticulitis is resolved, and linger for weeks or months afterward. These near-daily include abdominal pain, bloatedness, and altered bowel movements. 

            Preliminary research indicates the potential benefit of curcumin and berberine in combination to target these lingering digestive symptoms. However, in severe or complicated cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide more intensive care, including antibiotics or surgery, to prevent complications like perforation or obstruction. Therefore, anyone experiencing a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain with fever during a diverticulitis flare-up should seek medical care immediately. 

            For patients curious about curcumin and berberine for lingering symptoms, you can find a tailored program for your specific needs through our free online assessment.

            Comprehensive Relief from Diverticulitis Flare-Up 

            Managing a diverticulitis flare-up may involve a comprehensive approach in combination with medication and herbal supplements to support overall digestive health and alleviate symptoms. This may include certain lifestyle adjustments like diet and stress relief

            • Initially, a low-fiber diet may help rest the colon during acute flare-ups. Gradually reintroduce fiber with fruits and whole grains to help regularize bowel movements.
            • As certain foods may trigger your symptoms, it’s wise to keep a food diary to keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
            • Stress is directly tied to gastrointestinal symptoms. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and mindfulness keep stress at bay, improving gut health, and therefore overall health.
            • Moderate exercise like walking, cycling, or swimming can improve bowel function and reduce pressure in the colon.
            • Good quality sleep is crucial for immune function. A soothing bedtime routine will calm the nervous system and prepare your body for rejuvenating sleep.  
              • Smoking can increase the risk of developing diverticulitis and can worsen symptoms.


              As a diverticulitis patient, it’s important to gain an understanding of your symptoms as this will help you better manage your flares effectively and avoid an acute episode. Additionally, it’s vital to know when to seek professional medical advice, especially when symptoms suggest complications.





              This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. The content provided is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. The claims made regarding specific products in this blog are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.


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              Reviewed by Prof. Shomron Ben-Horin M.D.

              Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer of Evinature, Chief of the Gastroenterology Department & Director of the Gastro-Immunology Research Laboratory at Sheba Medical Center.

              Currently a professor of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, Ben-Horin has been the President of the Israel IBD Society, a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Crohn’s & Colitis Organization (ECCO), and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Crohn & Colitis. He is currently a member of the prestigious International Organization of IBD (IOIBD), and a member of the Editorial Board of leading journals, Gut, JCC, and APT.


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