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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes diverticulitis?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    dofapa1

    HealthShare Member

    Increased pressure within the large intestine caused by stools that are too hard et al. This causes the inside lining of the bowel to herniate through points of weakness forming pockets in the bowel wall….

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris ... View Profile

    What dofapa1 has explained is diverticulosis. Diverticulosis occurs when the bowels are placed under constant strain trying to pass hard stools through for elimination. Increases in age can increase the chance of getting diverticulosis as well as a low dietary fibre intake. Over time little pockets form (diverticula) which can become inflammed leading to diverticulitis (itis = meaning inflammation). Diverticulitis is when the little pockets (diverticula) get infected.

  • 2

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    Dr Kenneth Wong

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, General Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon

    Dr Ken Wong is a very experienced specialist surgeon focussing on keyhole surgery techniques for gallstones, bowel cancer, hernia and weight loss surgery. He graduated ... View Profile

    Interestingly, diverticular disease and diverticulosis are very common in Western populations such as Australia, USA, UK and much less seen in Asian/ Middle Eastern and African populations. So there is a theory that low fiber western diets may be causative of diverticular disease and subsequently diverticultis.

    However, it is unproven whether dietary changes can prevent the onset of diverticulitis and/or subsequent attacks. Generally, after diagnosis of divertculitis, I would recommend a colonoscopy in order to view the affected segment of the bowel to confirm diverticulosis and exclude the presence of other bowel issues such as cancers.

    Dr Ken Wong
    http://www.centralcoastsurgery.com.au

  • 1

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    Dr Teresa Wong

    GP (General Practitioner)

    I love medicine! My special interest areas are mental health, pain management, pediatrics and musculoskeletal injuries. Having said that there is no area in medicine ... View Profile

    • Diverticulitis disease is a common condition that occurs when small pouches develop in the colon.
    • When these pouches become infected it's called diverticulitis .
    • Common symptoms include pain, nausea, fever and changes to bowel habits.A diverticulitis “attack” is an extremely painful affair with cramping, tenderness, bloating, fever, nausea and diarrhoea common symptoms
    • Treatments include dietary changes, antibiotics and in rare cases surgery.
    • Diverticulosis is unknown in countries where the diet contains large amounts of fibre and consists of plenty of vegetables, grains and legumes, but very little meat, sugar and white flour products. We need sufficient fibre to bulk the stool, stretch the bowel walls and sweep out those little pockets, so that bits and pieces are not left behind.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Samantha Ling

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Samantha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), consultant and food and nutrition enthusiast. Samantha works in a private practice on the Central Coast, NSW, Rostant ... View Profile

    As everyone above has stated - generally a diet low in dietary fibre causes Diverticular Disease. However, Diverticulitis (which is a state where the Diverticula - aka the small bulges in your large intestine - become inflammed/infected). This may be a result of many factors, such as:
    - constipation (straining puts additional pressure on the diverticula which may cause inflammation, small ruptures and infection)
    - diarrhoea (especially when alternating between constipation)
    - stress, being sick/the flu (as your immune system will be slightly compromised)

    It is often a misconception that diet directly causes diverticulitis (infection/inflammation). For example, consuming grains or seeds. There is no scientific evidence to support the avoidance of seeds, pips or nuts if you have diverticular disease. In fact, treatment for diverticular is a high fibre diet which may consist of seeds, pips, nuts, grains, wholemeal cereals and breads, fruits and vegetables.
    However, during diverticulitis (inflammation) it is very important to modify your diet to give your bowels a rest during this period by following a low fibre diet. Once the inflammation has ceased it is recommended to increase your fibre and fluid intake once more.

    Talking to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) may be of benefit to you as we can help tailor a diet to suit both your medical needs and lifestyle.

    Samantha Ling
    Rostant Nutrition
    (Find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/rostantnutrition )

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