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Diverticulitis and Diet

By Roy Thomsitt

What Is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is another one of those conditions that has followed from industrialisation, and a fundamental change in eating habits to a diet of processed food. The condition emerged after milling became commonplace in Western countries, starting in the US. Milling grains strips out valuable fibre, and since the early 20th century a shortage of fibre in diets has been commonplace amongst the American, and other Western, population.

Diverticulitis actually follows on from a condition called diverticulosis, which tends to come with age, particularly over 60. Diverticulosis is quite common, and past the age of 60 about half the population have this condition. With diverticulosis people experience the formation of small pouches in the intestinal tracts. These pouches are called diverticula. They are, in themselves, harmless, and most people never know they have them.

If diverticula become inflamed or infected, however, then the patient will experience pain in the abdominal region. Only a relatively small percentage of people with diverticulosis develop diverticulitis, and many of these are mild cases which can be treated with rest and diet change. More serious cases may require surgery.

What Should A Diverticulitis Diet Include?

If diverticulitis has been diagnosed by your doctor, and is confirmed as a mild case, then your doctor will probably recommend some dietary changes. Although a shortage of fibre in the diet over a number of years may have caused the condition, once you have it, your doctor may ask you to cut down on fibre even more for a few days, as it may aggravate the pain.

Your treatment is likely to include antibiotics to kill the infection, and it is vital you finish your course and take your doctor's advice. In about half of cases of diverticulitis, the patient will be hospitalised


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