What is the Relationship Between Diverticulitis and Alcohol?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2018
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The relationship between diverticulitis and alcohol appears to be weak, with some studies suggesting it may play a causative role in the development of this digestive condition, while others do not. Patients with active diverticulitis may be advised to avoid alcohol along with other potential irritants because they can make a flareup worse. People with diverticulitis who have concerns about drinking alcohol can discuss them with a medical professional to see if there are any specific recommendations.

In diverticulitis, small pouches form along the intestinal wall. Some people have asymptomatic forms of this condition, where the sacs do not cause problems. Others experience inflammation leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other health issues. The reasons for why this condition develops are unclear, although there seems to be a genetic factor, and people with poor diets can be at increased risk. In regions where people tend to eat a high fiber, low fat diet, the incidence of this disease is very low.

Alcoholics tend to eat a poor diet, and this can create the illusion of a connection between diverticulitis and alcohol. The cause of the condition is actually the limited fiber and nutrition in the alcoholic diet, rather than the alcohol itself. People who eat a balanced diet and consume alcohol in moderation do not appear to have an increased risk of developing this condition, unless they have a family history of diverticulitis or other gastrointestinal complaints.


For patients with active flareups, it may be best to avoid alcohol, since it can irritate the gut and may make the inflammation worse. People who notice increased pain or bowel irregularity in connection with drinking should stop for the duration of the flareup to rest the digestive system. It is also important to eat lots of whole foods high in fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains. This will help address the inflammation and make the patient feel more comfortable.

Studies on diverticulitis and alcohol, along with other environmental factors, are ongoing. These include look-back studies, where researchers examine medical histories for people diagnosed with diverticulitis to look for commonalities between them, as well as ongoing studies. Patients with a family history of this condition may want to see if they are eligible for any studies or clinical trials on new methods for preventing and treating diverticulitis. A gastrointestinal specialist can provide more information and help people apply for any open studies.


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Post 8

"It is also important to eat lots of whole foods high in fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains. This will help address the inflammation and make the patient feel more comfortable."

No, no, a thousand times no! Do not eat a high-fiber diet when you're suffering from a diverticulitis flare-up. What is called for is a low-fiber diet, which includes cooked or canned fruits and vegetables with a couple of exceptions, certain meats/fish, certain dairy products and other low-fiber foods. Starting with a liquid diet is also a good idea. The author of the above recommendation is confusing diverticulitis which is an acute condition with diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is a chronic condition

which is the diagnosis when pouches called diverticula are present in the colon. When the diverticula become infected resulting in inflammation, it is diverticulitis. Anyone trying to clear up a diverticulitis episode with a high-fiber diet would likely end up in the hospital. The high-fiber diet is for when no diverticulitis is present. If you're suffering a flare-up do an internet search for Diverticulitis Diet and research the ones from medical sites.
Post 7

I am unfortunately in the middle of a flare up right now which I believe was triggered by alcohol. I'm a very fit, 50 year old male with a family history of diverticulitis and mainly drink red wine on a moderate basis. I eat very healthy, exercise every day but every so often will imbibe more than I should at a celebratory event.

I had one of those nights last week. I've only had ~3 of those nights in the last 10 years. In each of those times, I had a flare up -- this one worse than the past ones, and I'm on Flagyl and Cipro trying to get under control. I've never had a significant flare up when it wasn't related to a binge night.

Suffice it to say, I'm eliminating binge nights from here on out. Took me three times to figure out the pattern.

Post 6

I totally disagree with the article's conclusion that alcohol does not have a direct impact on diverticulitis. Normally when I drink I eat fried food especially with beer such as fried chicken, fried fish, etc.

I believe that the number one cause of diverticulitis flare-ups is alcohol consumption. Secondly eating fried foods in connection with alcohol consumption.

Alcohol and fried foods is the primary culprit. Eliminate these two irritants and you eliminate diver flare-ups. Also, the best overall herbal remedy for flare-ups is Cat's Claw. At least 3 grams per day to eliminate the inflammation. It also gets rid of parasites in the gut.

Post 5

I have the diver and can say that a drink here and there has very little effect on flare-ups, especially if you regularly eat a decent diet. Now, if you go to a wedding, drink way too much (12-plus drinks) and drink literally zero water, then you're likely to get a flare up.

Post 4

I've always heard that if a mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant, it can cause all kinds of problems for the baby. I wonder if the mother's consumption of alcohol could cause diverticulitis? Has anyone heard if there have been any studies on this?

Post 3

I believe that alcohol and diverticulitis do not mix. I say this because both my dad and his brother have the condition, but my dad doesn't drink, and he has far fewer episodes than my uncle.

My uncle drinks several beers every day. He has much more pain and many more infections than my dad, and my dad doesn't even eat a totally healthy diet.

I see that the disease is genetic, since they both have it. However, their bodies' reactions to it vary greatly, and they seem to be influenced by alcohol consumption and the lack of it.

Post 2

@lighth0se33 – I think that as long as someone is following the diverticulitis diet plan, they can have a glass of wine with their dinner every night and not suffer any pain. I believe that flareups have a lot more to do with what you eat than what you drink.

I eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies for fiber. I have a spinach salad every day, and I also eat whole grain cereals and breads.

I drink lots of water, too. When you eat a lot of fiber, as diverticulitis patients are supposed to do, you need a lot of water to make the stools pass through more easily.

Post 1

I have diverticulitis, and I have a beer every now and then without having any flareups. Maybe diverticulitis is only worsened in people who are actual alcoholics, since excessive alcohol can wreak havoc on the body, anyway.

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