Thoughtful patient in the hallway of a hospitalIt used to be that the typical individual with diverticulitis is a man in his fifties or sixties. That has changed. I am running into more women with the condition and it does not stop there –diverticulitis is affecting more young women in their late twenties and early thirties.

You might already know what diverticulitis is but in the interest of other readers I will go ahead and give you the quick and dirty without the jargon.

Diverticulitis is an infection of the diverticula in the colon. Diverticula are these shallow pockets that form over time in the recesses of the colon. No one starts with diverticula, you develop it with time.

The usual presentation of diverticulitis is pain in the lower left side of the belly but it can affect any part of the colon.

So why are younger women coming down with this “middle-aged man” condition? Good question.

In all honesty, I think the western diet is to blame.

If you are not getting enough fiber in your diet and you consume more of a “meat and potato” diet, poop tends to hang around in your body longer giving them the opportunity to slip into those shallow pockets of the colon and the next thing you know, there’s an infection.

Regular consumption of fiber helps to bulk up the stool (pardon my being graphic) so it slips right through instead of the sticky poop of the low fiber diet

Yet another reason to take in more fiber, I say.

About the author

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Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.

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