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Symptoms of diverticular disease include tummy pain, feeling bloated, constipation and/or blood coming out of your rectum (back passage). Pain is often felt on the left side of your tummy, but it can happen on the right. If you have any rectal bleeding, see your GP. For more information, see our section on symptoms.
You don’t need to avoid any specific foods. But try to avoid any foods or drinks that could make you constipated, such as coffee, tea or alcohol. Dairy products may also make you constipated, but don’t cut these out of your diet without speaking to a dietitian first. If you notice specific foods are triggering your symptoms, you should also discuss this with your doctor.
Doctors used to recommend that you shouldn’t eat nuts, seeds, fruit skins, corn or popcorn if you have diverticular disease. This is because they thought little bits of these foods could get stuck in your diverticula pouches and cause complications. But research shows that these foods don’t make diverticular disease worse.
Most people who get diverticulitis don’t get it again. You may still notice some tummy pain after your treatment has finished. If your symptoms change or get worse, it’s important to tell your doctor.
Of those people who do get diverticulitis again, one in two will experience it within a year of their first episode. Around nine in ten people who get it again will get it in the first five years after their first episode. Eating a high-fibre diet will help to keep your diverticular disease under control.
If you keep getting diverticulitis, you may need to have surgery.
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