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15 Jul 2010

Hello Diet Doc,

My 83 year old mom has been diagnosed with diverticulosis. She has been experiencing lots of loose stools. She has been a lacto ovo vegetarian most of her life and eats a lot of fresh fruit and veggies and legumes and soya etc. She now experiences a lot of gas and loose stools. She has been given gastron on occasions at the retirement home she is living in. I have supplied lacteal forte for her but her physician said she should go back to the gastro doc for another scope which she doesn''t want. She last had one a few months ago together with a barium enema when she was diagnosed.

Is there a special diet she should follow or foods to avoid? She says when they give her maltabela porridge at the home her tummy runs. I am not sure what maltabela is, wheat based or what the problem with that porridge is.

It has now become rather distressing for her. She recently was hospitalised with pneumonia and also has a calcifying valve in her heart (aortic stenosis). She does take a -|- tail of drugs including cortisone for her polymyalgia rheumatica and I thought perhaps the cortisone was causing her problem but the physican says not. He did give her a script for topsole though.

Thanks for your help.

Answer 536 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Daughter
I am sorry to hear that your dear Mom has been diagnosed with diverticulosis. Basically the condition arises when the diverticles (the highly folded parts of the intestine, which form little sack-like pouches), become inflamed. This can happen when hard food particles such as the pips and skins of fruit, and possibly also insoluble dietary fibre (which is found in wholewheat products) are trapped in the little pouches. Consequently the general diet for this condition is low in fibre and seeks to avoid foods that have pips (guavas, berries), hard skins (peel all fruit and cook if necessary) and insoluble dietary fibre (avoid wholewheat products and such legumes as may cause distress, e.g. lentils which could get trapped in the diverticles). Maltabella is porridge made from milled sorghum grain. It has a fine consistency and should not really cause inflammation. It is also possible that your Mom has become sensitised to certain foods because of the diverticulosis. One way of determining which other foods cause distress, is to keep a food diary and note down which foods cause symptoms and then avoid them in future. If this process is not feasible then I would suggest that you consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area) for a specific diet prescription for your Mom. I would also recommend that use of probiotics ("beneficial microorganisms") such as Bifidoflora (buy at health shops or from dietitians), to help to normalise the bacterial flora in your Mom's digestive tract as this may help if she has become sensitised to certain foods because of her condition. The dietitian should also be able to assess which nutrients need to be supplemented in your Mom's diet seeing that she is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian and at present requires many medications (all of which may have gastro-intestinal side-effects).
I hope you can assist your Mom to feel better.
Best regards
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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