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Colorectal Diseases

What Causes Diverticulitis?

05/22/2007

Question:

A close friend was just released from the hospital with diverticulitis. Does excessive drinking of beer over the course of many years and cigarette smoking (2 1/2 packs a day) contribute to diverticulits? If your diet was changed but you continued to smoke and drink in the same fashion prior to being hospitalized, wouldn`t that affect diverticulitis?

Answer:

There is no evidence to suggest that smoking or alcohol consumption will cause diverticulitis. Diverticular change in the sigmoid colon is the result of a diet chronically low in insoluble fiber, which ultimately causes compacted firm desiccated stool. Unhealthy habits, like smoking and drinking alcohol to excess, don't go hand in hand with healthy diets in most cases. So, curbing these habits while promoting a healthy diet high in fiber and water will be the most beneficial.

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Response by:

Janice Frederick Rafferty, MD Janice Frederick Rafferty, MD
Professor of Surgery
Chief of Colorectal Surgery Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati