I am a mixed martial arts fan and ever since Brock Lesnar beat diverticulitis using a paleo-type protocol(was detailed in a recent issue of one of the muscle rags), I have been interested in how he fairs inside the octagon. When i was watching him on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, it looked like the diet had leaned his frame out by 15-20 lbs and in he said his training was going well. Anyways, a couple weeks ago he had to pull out of his upcoming fight because the diverticulitis had come back- but he stressed that it was nowhere near as bad as his last bout with it. Is this type of bacterial disease chronic? Does paleo just treat it and make it less likely to flare(like with my gout) or does it totally eliminate it? How does one get infected with these types of maladies?
asked byluckybastard (12407)
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on May 24, 2011
at 07:33 PM
once the diverticulli sacs form they will never go away. the trick is to keep any objects like popcorn out of the sacs so they don't become infected. keep everything moving down the colon slick as a whistle.
on July 06, 2011
at 01:40 AM
Diverticulitis can be chronic, but it usually isn't. Most often people get one attack and then never get it again.
If you're unlucky (like I was) the infection takes up residence, doesn't respond to treatment, and eventual colon resection surgery is required.
A few definitions:
The condition of having the little pouches in the colon is called diverticulosis, and is common and not harmful. We don't really know what causes the pouches to form, but the SAD is pretty likely to be a contributor. A lot of the literature blames lack of fiber, but I'm skeptical - they link lack of fiber to eating processed foods, but I think there's a lot more than just low fiber going on with processed foods contributing to disease.
If one of the diverticula (pouches) gets inflamed and infected, that's what's called diverticulitis. This can be very serious - and it's pretty horrible, like RG73 says above. Really painful, fever, chills, etc. If the diverticula has perforated (the test is a CAT scan), you get to check into the hospital for IV antibiotics and a nice no-food diet until it resolves. Which sucks, but beats dying of peritonitis. Which is totally possible.
Anyway, as far as paleo and diverticulitis, I think that any diet that's good for your digestion is good for you, period. That said, the mechanism for getting the diverticulita pouches in the first place is not at all understood, and neither is there any pattern to who goes on to get full-fledged diverticulitis. So I think luck has more to do with it than diet.
And if you could cure it with perfectly organic low-carb eating and supplements, mine would never have come back!
p.s. (The nuts and seeds thing has been debunked. During and for a while after an attack, you have to eat a no-fiber diet, but then there are no restrictions on what can be eaten.)
on May 24, 2011
at 09:32 PM
I was diagnosed with diverticulitis last summer--pretty awful actually, I was damn near close to checking myself into the ER. Probably better that I didn't, since they probably would have cut me and done an resection of my colon or something. I got the lecture about eating more fiber. Of course, this made no sense to me seeing this was my pre-Paleo days wherein I was eating tons of fiber in the form of whole grains. I also got the standard don't eat corn and nuts and seeds thing, although this is also somewhat nonsensical since a pouch is a pouch and just about anything (including all that insoluble fiber like wheat husks can just as easily get trapped in the out-pocketing). Anyway, so with a course of antibiotics the symptoms resolved without any complications and a few months later, I wound up going Paleo (not b/c of that episode in particular). In any event, I can report that I've had no symptoms like that now for almost a year. I even cheated and ate popcorn once or twice since then. And nuts. It may be the diet, maybe not. I was supposedly eating exactly like the standard healthy recommendation at the time (e.g. lots of whole grains, "healthy" carbs, low fat, blah, blah) and still got diverticulitis, so who knows. I just no I've had no relapses for 11+ months, and that is just fine by me. I'll stick to what I'm doing.
@Al Abbot: Yes, actually some diverticular sacs do heal on their own. See Reese et al. "A Practical Approach to Infectious Disease." There's probably other refs out there, I just don't feel like digging through all my textbooks right now.
on May 24, 2011
at 07:32 PM
I'm not a doctor, but my understanding is that nobody really knows what causes the actual inflammation of diverticulitis, which are the inflamed diverticula (pouches in the walls of the colon). I've heard trapped fecal matter could lead to bacterial infection, but it's only a theory.
Docs usually recommend a diet high in soluble fiber (and, at least in the past, used to advise against foods like seeds, nuts and corn). That said, I've read plenty of books and articles from experts that say the need for fiber is way overblown, and that excess fiber actually slows bowel transit time and can lead to constipation and other maladies like hemmorrhoids and diverticula. (I believe this is the Weston A. Price stance.)
In my experience, paleo-type diets tend to be higher in fat and lower in fiber than the standard USDA-recommended diet. If the WAP folks are right, this could be why some people with diverticulitis do better on paleo-type diets than those on the standard, grain-based diet.