Persistent abdominal discomfort — ranging from a constant feeling of needing to empty one’s bowels to severe pain — can signal a type of bowel infection that’s known as diverticulitis.
Up to half of Canadian adults aged 70 and older have developed small ‘pouches’ in the lining of the colon, which are known medically as diverticula. Of these, an estimated one in five will eventually experience a related complication, one example being an infection — diverticulitis — that can brew in one of these pockets where bowel contents have become trapped.
So, given there’s a good chance you have diverticula, what can you do to prevent such problems from developing? Thankfully, some of the same lifestyle factors that promote overall health in a number of other ways also seem to reduce the likelihood of this happening.
A belated thank-you to the interviewees who so kindly contributed their time and expertise:
- Helen Abrams and Sarita Gupta, both registered dietitians (in the departments of gastroenterology and surgery, respectively) at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont.
- Dr. Karen Madsen, director of the Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research and a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
- Dr. John Marshall, a professor of medicine and director of the division of gastroenterology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
- Dr. Brian Taylor, formerly a professor of surgery at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ont.