Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Have Diverticuli in my Colon, What Can I Eat?

Now that more adults are getting colonoscopies, more of us are finding out that we have diverticuli in our colon. A diverticulum is a pouch, like a small cave, coming out of the lining of our colon. It is common for adults over 40 to have them. If they become inflammed or infected, this is call diverticulitis. Stool may become trapped in the diverticulum and over time cause an infection, sometimes very serious if there is a ruture of the diverticulum causing the infection to spread in the abdomen (peritonitis).

It is generally felt that a lack of regular fiber in the diet causes these diverticuli to form. This has has never been clearly proven. It is clear that daily use of fiber, especially grain fiber like that in high fiber cereals, keeps the stool moving and helps avoid stool getting trapped in the diverticuli causing an infection.

There has been a belief, even a medical recommendation, that people with diverticuli should avoid certain foods such as nuts, corn, popcorn and berries, thinking that these foods might get trapped in the diverticuli and cause an infection. This is rational thinking but has never been proven. To the relief of us that have diverticuli, and I found out I do at my colonoscopy, a study has now shown that these foods to not present any risk to people with diverticuli. In a study of over 47,000 men, intake of these foods had no association with developing diverticulitis.

So, I will continue to eat my high fiber cereal, fruits and vegetables every day. I will continue to enjoy nuts, corn and berries since I love them, and will feel free to order popcorn at the movies. Isn't it nice when medical science helps us enjoy life a little more!

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