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  • Writer's pictureNutripanda

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is an inflammation of the diverticula which are small, bulging pouches or sacs that may form in the weakened areas of the large intestine.


Diverticulitis Edinburgh

Diverticula are usually the size of peas, although they can be larger. They can appear anywhere in the inner lining of the colon but are most commonly found in the lower left part of the colon, called the sigmoid colon.


Diverticula form microscopic holes that allows bacteria from the intestines to be released and this results in inflammation. Symptoms may include fever, pain in the left lower part of the abdomen, nausea and vomiting (Ref 1).


Diet and lifestyle play a major role in the prevention and its management. This disease is supposedly caused by a complex interaction between diet, lifestyle factors, genetics, medication usage and the gut microbiome.


Certain medication may alter the neuromusculature of the gut tissue which also declines with ageing. Alterations in the composition and function of the gut microbiome cause defects in mucosal and immune function which facilitates the colonisation of pathogens.


Diverticulitis can happen at any age but is most common among people older than 40. The risk is also increased in people with obesity, especially central obesity, smokers and sedentary people, as physical activity has been proven to prevent it (Ref 2).


In the past, foods containing insoluble fibre such as nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn were considered to be avoided to prevent episodes of diverticulitis (Ref 1). But it is known now that a healthy diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grain which is high in fibre, is recommended. In contrast, the Western diet which is low in fibre increases the risk for developing this disease.


Studies suggest that larger quantities of processed and unprocessed red meat, as six servings per week or more, present a risk factor. Interestingly, replacing one portion of meat with poultry or fish has reduced the risk (Ref 3).


 

Consumption of alcohol is associated with diverticular bleeding which is a complication of this disease. If a diverticulum ruptures and bleeds into the intestine, bacteria and blood, spill into the abdominal cavity, causing infection (Ref 3).


Look out for our upcoming blogs on Diverticulitis and Diet and IBS for further information.


Meantime, if you would like some personalised help them please get in touch with our expert Nutritional Consultant.


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