In Health Radar David Greenwald, M.D answered the following reader’s questions:
Q: Is there any way to prevent diverticulosis?
A.Constipation should be avoided if possible, since it is a major cause of increased intracolonic pressure and is thought to be responsible for some cases of diverticulosis.
Dr. Greenwald recommended a diet high in fiber including bran cereals, whole wheat bread, fresh fruits, and leafy vegetables may make the development of diverticulosis less likely, improve symptoms of constipation and decrease the likelihood of complications.
**Between 15-30 grams of fiber is a good goal. Unfortunately, typical fiber consumption for people in the U.S. is only 8-12 grams a day.
D.K. I related to the answer to the next doctor’s question.
My Mom was told many years ago that she had diverticulitis and I vividly remember the baby food she was eating. She was instructed to eat soft foods. However, I believe many doctors’ have changed their minds on this treatment plan. Mom also changed her diet to a high fiber one which has improved her health.
Q. How can a person with diverticulosis prevent progression to diverticulitis?
A. Once diverticula have formed, they do not go away. Increasing fiber in the diet to soften and bulk the stool may decrease the development of more diverticula.
Persons with diverticulosis are sometimes instructed to avoid foods that contain indigestible particles such as popcorn, nuts, and fruits with small seeds.
The theory of such a diet is that these particles might get “caught” in the diverticulum and precipitate diverticulitis.
Proof of effectiveness for such a diet is lacking and there is little scientific evidence to support this restricted diet for patients.
** Dr. David Greenwald is director of Einstein Montefiore Gastroenterology Fellowship Program.