In most cases, the presence of diverticula is asymptomatic and may be discovered by accident during a colonoscopy. Sometimes, however, they can become inflamed and give rise to symptoms: «Abdominal pain, alteration of bowel regularity. The most serious pathologies are any infections that they also involve fever, chills, or ulcers or fistulas“, explains Elena Dogliotti, nutritionist biologist and scientific supervisor for the Umberto Veronesi Foundation. In these rare cases, surgery may also be required.
How they are formed
Diverticulosis is more common in men, but after the age of sixty even in women. Although the formation of diverticula is very frequent and age-relatedthe symptoms that diverticulosis can cause, their inflammation, can be multiple and linked to inflammatory factors of the intestine (among which there is certainly a hereditary component of predisposition): «It has been seen that their formation and resulting inflammation it is easier in those who have a diet not rich in fibers and perhaps abundant in meat or animal products, elements that favor constipation», observes the specialist.
How should we feed ourselves to prevent the formation of diverticula and their subsequent inflammation?
«At a preventive level there are not many indications – specifies Dogliotti -, if not to follow a Mediterranean-type diet that goes to increase vegetable products: many vegetables, fruit, preferably whole grains, legumes as a protein source alternating with other animal sources (but with the reduction of processed meats, such as cured meats and frankfurters) and limit simple sugars and saturated fats. These are the indications that apply to everyone, the basis of a diet preventive against most diseases (including tumors and cardiovascular diseases) and which are reflected in the health of the intestine and the microbiota”.
How to behave in terms of food when the disease is full-blown?
“In this case, the Mediterranean diet has small restrictions – warns the expert -: you have to limit the foods they cause abdominal swellingthe rich ones of the so-called FODMAP (oligosaccharides, disaccharides, fermentable monosaccharides and polyols) such as legumes, cruciferous vegetables, aubergines and artichokes, hot or spicy foods and avoid alcohol».
Is the right diet also curative?
«When there are, the diverticula remain, the diet however helps to “control” them, to contain the generic inflammation of the intestine and to favor a healthy microbiota. In addition to the diet, let’s not forget the proper hydration and adding aadequate physical activityessential for all ages and protective against most of the pathologies we suffer from in developed countries», concludes Dogliotti.