Chances are, if someone asks you to name a condition that affects the large intestine or bowel, the first thing to come to mind might be cancer, or perhaps Crohn’s disease.
However, there’s a much more common, albeit less serious condition that affects an estimated half of Canadians aged 70 and up: diverticulosis.
Diverticuli are small pockets or pouches that form within the lining of the colon. And they don’t necessarily announce themselves. However, roughly one in five people with diverticulosis will develop symptoms (such as abdominal discomfort) or complications.
One such problem is diverticulitis, which occurs when waste and bacteria become trapped in one of the small cul-de-sacs in the colon, causing an infection.
So what can you do to ease uncomfortable symptoms? And are there things you can do to reduce the odds of developing diverticulitis?
If you’re hungry for information about probiotics after reading this story, check out this post, which links to a piece I wrote on that topic.
A big thank-you to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise:
- Michael Bonisteel.
- Helen Abrams and Sarita Gupta, who are both registered dietitians who work in surgical care at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont.
- Dr. Karen Madsen, PhD, a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and director of CEGIIR (the Centre for Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research).
- Dr. John Marshall, a professor and director of the division of gastroenterology at McMaster University, a consultant gastroenterologist at Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, and a member of the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.
- Dr. Brian Taylor, now a professor emeritus of general surgery at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London Ont.