Constipation and Diverticulitis

Constipation is a disorder characterized by the need to strain to pass hard stools and decreased frequency of stools (two to three times a week). Chronic constipation can lead to diverticulosis, in which multiple small sacs of the colonic mucosa are pushed out through the muscular wall of the colon. Diverticulosis occurs because chronic straining to pass feces produces increased pressure inside the colon. Inflammation often develops within the small sacs (diverticula) producing diverticulitis, with abdominal pain and bleeding. Constipation and diverticulitis are so-called “diseases of civilization.” They occur in near epidemic proportions in the industrialized countries, where one-fifth of the adult population suffers from chronic constipation and diverticulosis occurs in about one third of people older than 65 years.


Diet – Constipation

The primary cause of both constipation and diverticulosis are highly refined and processed diets that are low in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber passes into the colon intact and absorbs water – increasing the bulk of the stool and softening it.1 This stimulates peristalsis in the colon, pushing the stool forward more rapidly. Dietary fiber is found in large amounts in whole grains, corn, vegetables, fruits (dried prunes, apples, raisins, and figs), seeds, and legumes. Increasing intake of these foods will soften the stool, and often eliminate constipation. Supplements of fiber, such as corn or wheat bran and psyllium-seed preparations, can also be beneficial. However, because large amounts of fiber can produce gas and abdominal discomfort, fiber intake should be increased gradually as tolerated over a period of severalweeks.Ample fluid intake (8–10 large glasses per day) should accompany increases in dietary fiber. High-dose calcium supplements (more than 2 g/day) may worsen constipation. Chronic use of laxatives should be avoided. Most interfere with normal colonic function and reduce absorption of nutrients. They can also precipitate development of irritable bowel syndrome.

Micronutrients – Constipation

  • Vitamin C 250 mg-2 g Pulls water into the colon and softens stools. Start with 250 mg and increase gradually until constipation improves. Take as single dose on arising in the morning
  • Folic acid 0.4–0.8 mg Deficiency can aggravate constipation.

Recommended food supplements:


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