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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis

User rating for this question
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Answered by

Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3834 Questions
My mother has had problems w polyps and had bee diagnosed w I believe is Diverticulitis. She was told not to eat certain foods like corn or seeds. I know she loves popcorn and has eaten a little from time to time, but she's afraid to because she believes that she could end up with Diverticulosis. I told her that I don't believe that. I think the corn or seeds might irritate a polyp and perhaps make it burst and bleed. She's going to be 87 next week and her diet is already restricted because of her Thyroid medication and I would like to see her not worry so much about her diet. What do you think?
Mon, 1 Sep 2014 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
See below!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

1. You cannot have diverticulitis without first having diverticulosis. This means that what you may have believed to be the diagnosis of your mother may not be exactly correct. Check this out with her doctors or records to make sure you get it right.

2. Corn and seeds can be risk factors of diverticulosis because they induce constipation. This is why fiber and vegetable intake is encouraged to prevent constipation and eventual diverticulosis.

3. Corn and seeds would not cause irritation and bleeding of polyps. Unless many polyps were found on colonoscopy, they are often excised and there is no need to continue being worried about the presence of polyps and related complications.

4. I believe she can eat corn in small quantities once in a while. What is discouraged are huge quantities. Let her feel free to respond to her desires once in a while but not in excesses.

I hope you find the above helpful. I wish your mom well. Feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be. Thank you so much for trusting us with your health questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis 28 hours later
Okay, I admit I may have the two terms backwards. She has been to the emergengy room twice in the past with what they believed were at least one polyp ruptured and she had moderate to heavy bleeding, the first being back in 2007. She has had colonostomies (sp?) in the past, but I don't think any polyps were removed.
I think that she might be over reacting with the diet thing, but plan to ask her doctor this coming Tuesday and have him tell her his opinion.
I am going to encourage her to eat a little, but not over indulge.
Do Strawberries cause any problem? I take her Strawberries when I can and when she doesn't have them she has her prunes. Would tomato w seeds be a problem in small amounts? AND what might be her biggest problem?
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Fruits, all fruits are good for her!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for following up with her.

I am happy that you would be asking his doctor some of these questions personally. Maybe he possesses some more information needed in making or formulating the answers that may not be immediately evident to us. Please, fail not to ask about this.

Vegetables and all fruits are good for her. This is the same diet advised to prevent and treat diverticulosis. They would in no way cause harm to her. Let her feel free to consume as much as she wishes.

I hope this helps. Keep me posted on this. I wish her well and thanks for taking the tie to talk to you. Feel free to keep the discussion going!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis 13 hours later
I will be glad to tell her your answer.

Another problem she has is with her Esophagus. She has not been diagnosed with Gerd, but has been told that her muscles don't always work in the proper order. She has had 2 procedures done to try to help her with this. From what I understand the procedures involved dialating the Esophagus. The 1st one helped for maybe a couple of weeks, but the 2nd one didn't seem to help at all. After having a stroke last year she didn't seem to be having as much problem, but it's not predictable and would cause her to suddenly have to spit out what was coming back up. It wasn't too bad when she could still walk and go to the restroom to spit, but she's mostly in a wheelchair now and in Assisted Living. It's becoming more of a problem now and she has a lot of phlem (sp?) she needs to spit out. She has an assigned table at her living facility and she has understanding table mates, but the staff is not so understanding. She's been told everything from "You can't do that at the table." to "You have to go to the restroom to do that." They have such a high turnover of employees that I have trouble making sure each new person is aware of her problem. We hope the doctor visit tomorrow can help and maybe find a way to help relieve this. Do you have any ideas? Can the fact that her nose runs when she eats affect this?
I'll let you know what her doctor advises.
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
See below!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for sharing this very touching piece.

I am so sorry to hear about all what she has been experiencing and going through. We need to be reminded each time that she is someone's dear mother and our potential mother. Each time we talk to an elderly, we should be able to remember this could be our own very loved mother and this can be us in future.

Please, talk to the assisted living management that any worker assigned to your mom must be briefed of her condition before and be cautioned to watch out for very hurting words and language. I hate that and cannot stand anyone saying that to my mom and you should not either. It is not of her making and growing old should not be an insult.

Let me know what the exact diagnosis is when you meet her doctor. I may have some practical tips to help her better adapt to the changing lifestyle and milieu.

I wish her well. Extend my warmest regards to her and let her know people do care and wish her well. A few should not make her believe or think otherwise!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis 36 hours later
Her doctor advised her to avoid corn, seeds, and tomatoes w seeds.
He also advised her to see a specialist ref her Esophagus. He recommends she have another procedure to steetch her Esophagus.
The turnover of employees is amazing at assited living. Even at the place my mother liives (and it's not cheap) I have seen many come and go in the past year. I go over as often as I can and try to make sure that all are advised about her problem.
Thanks for your help.
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Thanks for these updates!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for these updates.

I am sure the doctor has some other reasons for not recommending these food stuffs not entirely linked to polyps and diverticulosis. I believe there is another condition I am not aware of that may be the reason for all this restriction. I will advice you stick with her recommendation as she definitely has reasons though I do not exactly know what they are.

Unfortunately the personnel turnover is something we cannot work on. I hope they get to help reduce as much as possible how often she gets such unpleasant comments.

Is your mother having a condition termed achalasia or esophageal stenosis?

I wish her well. Thanks for the updates once more.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis 1 hour later
I have not heard heard her condition called anything. I will write those two terms down and keep them in mind.
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 24 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Got you!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for the follow up.

Ask them specifically if your mom suffers from either of these conditions and what the indication for the dilation is.

Keep me posted!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest diet when suffering from diverticulitis 16 hours later
Okay, I will. She doesn't have an appointment w the specialist as of yet. Will this discussion stay open if I don't get back until lets say in a week or two?
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 6 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:

I do not know whether the discussion would stay open or not . It all depends on your selected option. Can you please ask the customer service about this?

I wish you well. Hi to your lovely mom.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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