How to Follow a Clear Liquid Diet

How to Follow a Clear Liquid Diet: A Guide for Divers with Diverticular Disease (CD)

Diverticulosis is one of the most common causes of diverticulitis. It occurs when small pockets form inside your large intestine which lead into the wall of your bowel.

These pockets are filled with mucus and other substances from the lining of your digestive tract, such as bacteria or yeast cells. They cause discomfort and bleeding, leading to pain and cramping.

The problem with diverticulosis is that it usually does not affect all types of people equally. Some people have less than 1% of their colonic walls affected by these pockets.

Others may experience up to 10%. The condition is often misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis because they look very similar.

As many as 50 million Americans suffer from diverticulosis. About 20% of them will develop severe symptoms after having surgery for diverticulitis.

In some cases, the disease progresses to become life threatening. The good news is that there are several natural treatments available to treat diverticulitis without resorting to surgery.

There are two main types of diverticula: stricture and pouch type. Pouch type are the more dangerous of the two and should be treated immediately.

These develop from a loss of muscle tone in the wall of the colon, which leads to a bulging outward rather than a bulging inward. These must be treated with surgery to prevent complications.

Stricture diverticula are tougher to deal with, but can be managed through natural means. Over half of all people over fifty have this condition, but it is not usually life-threatening.

These diverticula are usually small and caused by shrinkage and hardening of the walls of the colon. Unlike other types of diverticula, which can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, stricture type diverticula usually develop from the last six feet of your large intestine, or colon.

Stricture diverticula are also rare in that they cause no pain. The only symptom you may experience is a change in bowel habits or appearance of blood in your stool.

How to Follow a Clear Liquid Diet: A Guide for Divers with Diverticular Disease (CD)

Most people who develop diverticulosis do so between the ages of 40 and 60. Diet does not usually play a role, but it can be a factor in people who do not eat a balanced diet or who suffer from malnutrition.

Other risk factors for diverticulosis include: smoking, obesity, and estrogen therapy. Family history of the disease also plays a role.

One of the main causes of diverticulosis is straining while having a bowel movement. Pregnant women who do not move their bowels regularly are at particular risk for this problem.

People with diabetes are also prone to this condition because they often have problems with circulation and nerve function in the area.

Diverticulitis occurs when these small pouches become infected or inflamed. Inflamed pouches become swollen and fill up with pus.

The usual cause is increased pressure in the digestive system. Abdominal surgery can increase the pressure within the bowels and cause diverticulitis. Other causes include long periods of constipation, obesity, diarrhea, and even heavy lifting.

The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. Usually, this manifests itself as a dull ache near the lower right side of the abdomen.

Sometimes the pain is sudden and acute and feels like a knife wound. This is often accompanied by fever and nausea.

Other symptoms of diverticulitis can include:

Chills

Nausea

Vomiting

Weakness

These symptoms are similar to other, more serious conditions, so it is important to see a doctor if you experience any of these problems. Only a medical professional can diagnose and treat this condition with the appropriate medication or surgery.

How to follow a clear liquid diet: Before beginning this diet, it is important to speak to your doctor first. Some people with diverticulitis must follow this diet indefinitely, while others can return to a normal diet within a few days.

If you are unsure whether or not you need to follow this diet, ask your physician before you make any changes to your normal eating habits.

What can you eat on a clear liquid diet?

Water

Fruit juices without seeds (apple, white grape, white peaches)

Chicken or beef broth

Diced carrots, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes

Boiled potatoes

Mashed potatoes and pumpkin

What foods should you avoid on a clear liquid diet?

All solids, including:

Fiberous foods (whole grains, nuts, seeds)

Starchy foods (corn, pasta, potatoes)

Fatty foods (meat, fish, eggs)

Cheese

Other restrictions

Do not drink any alcohol. This can irritate your digestive system and make the pain worse.

Do not smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and can worsen your condition

Do not use any over-the-counter medicines (such as Tylenol). Instead, speak to your physician about the appropriate pain medication and how much you should take to relieve your pain.

When can you expect to see results?

The length of time that it takes for diverticulitis to heal completely depends on the person, the severity of their condition, and how they respond to treatment. Most people with this condition will begin to feel better in about a week. Almost all of the diverticulitis patients who follow a clear liquid diet should return to a normal diet within a month. By then, their diverticulitis should be healing nicely.

If you experience severe pain and discomfort and cannot eat solid foods, your physician may suggest undergoing emergency surgery to remove the inflamed pouches in your colon. This is a fairly common procedure and has a high success rate.

What can you expect after?

If you have diverticulitis, it is vital that you follow a diet low in fat and fiber until your condition has healed completely. It can take a long time, but you should be able to return to normal solid foods slowly and begin to feel like your old self soon.

Diverticulitis is not a condition that you can ignore or take lightly. Although it is very common among the elderly, you do not have to be an older person to suffer from this problem.

Whether you are in your thirties, forties, fifties, or even younger, diverticulitis can rear its ugly head without any warning at anytime. If you have any of the symptoms, it is important to contact a physician right away so you can begin treatment as soon as possible. Ignoring diverticulitis can lead to complications or make your condition even worse.

Even if you are prescribed a clear liquid diet, you should still try to eat as healthy as possible while also getting enough rest and drinking plenty of liquids. This will speed up the healing process and help you feel better as quickly as possible.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.

Neither the U.S. Government nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are responsible for any harm caused by the use of this information.

Sources & references used in this article:

Nutrition following gastric operations for morbid obesity. by LD MacLean, BM Rhode, HM Shizgal – Annals of surgery, 1983 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Clear liquid diet before bowel preparation predicts successful chromoendoscopy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease by B Megna, J Weiss, D Ley, S Saha, P Pfau… – Gastrointestinal …, 2019 – Elsevier

Physician‐delivered malnutrition: why do patients receive nothing by mouth or a clear liquid diet in a university hospital setting? by GA Franklin, SA McClave, RT Hurt… – Journal of Parenteral …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library

The clear liquid diet: when is it appropriate? by S Hancock, G Cresci, R Martindale – Current gastroenterology reports, 2002 – Springer