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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the chances of recurrence of Diverticulitis following surgery?

    I had an emergency operation to remove part of my sigmoid colon due to perforated bowel caused by diverticulitis .

    As a result I have a temporary colostomy and must soon consider the pros and cons of a reversal.

    My question is what are the chances of getting diverticular again?
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    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

    Genetics do play a role in diverticular disease risk however you can help combat this by ensuring you have a diet that is high in fibre. Another cause is that diverticular disease stems from long-term constipation which is a result of a diet low in fibre. The main reason this occurs is that the more constipated we are the harder our bowel has to work to push the stools through for elimination. The more prolonged this goes on for results in a weakening in the wall of the colon in which pockets can form (diverticulae).

    Making sure you have a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains will reduce your risk, plus it will help to keep your bowel healthy. So how can you encorporate more fibre into your day?

    • Swap white bread for wholemeal or wholegrain varieties
    • Have at least 2 pieces of whole fruit daily
    • Make sure you include vegetables in your lunch and at dinner time
    • Include a high fibre breakfast cereal everyday (i.e. porridge or digestive 1st)

    Remember when you do go in for your reversal of the colostomy, you will need to follow a low fibre diet for a period of time to let your bowel heal and to reduce the risk of rupturing the newly stitched join. Once your doctor is happy for you to consume a normal diet again, you can slowly reintroduce fibre rich foods back into your diet. You should have a referral to a dietitian in hospital, but if not, you can find one by logging onto the Dietitian's Association of Australia's website ( and find one that specialises in bowel surgery.

    Hope this helps and good luck

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