Exercising causing diverticulitis?

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I was diagnosed with diver about 4 years ago but have probably had it much longer now I know what it is. Recently I have read some interesting forum posts suggesting that certain types of exercise appears to be causing flare ups. Strangely, I have been a lifelong exerciser but in phases and most recently, every time I am in an exercise phase it seems I have had an attack within a few weeks.  I know this sounds crazy but it really fits in with the pattern.  When I am not exercising I am completely well.  I am interested to know if anyone else can relate to this?  Thanks.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I have never heard of this. I am speculating that we all have different triggers. I rarely exercise due to laziness.
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  • Posted

    In an ideal world we would find the notion that exercise is bad for us rather counter intuitive!  But diverticular disease seems to get a hold on the smooth muscle tracts (eg the colon) and it strikes me that it's like a herniation of the colon walls, by causing them to go soggy and lose their elasticity - becoming plastic and not recovering their original tubular shape again in the short term, perhaps.  Therefore, strenuous exercise is probably too much for these compromised tracts?  If they have lost elasticity then sudden wrenching is possibly going to cause compression throughout the abdomen.  It seems very likely that this won't help the chronic nature of diverticulosis.  I must say - that at 56 years - I limit my exercise to fast walking a few times a week (3 to 4 miles each time) and I think that avoids undue compression of the abdoman but still gives all the aerobic benefit of increased pulse rate etc. 

    I can therefore see that in a compromised gut, something like a rowing machine (for example) could be a very bad idea - because no amount of exercise of the 'abs' will tone-up the muscularity of the 'pipework' within, surely? 

    Gentle exercise for cardiovascular maintenance is probably the regime that I will maintain from mid-50s onwards.  That and weekly Bisacodyl keeps me out of A&E - so far, anyway.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    • Posted

      Wow what a concise explanation - thanks Pete.  I am mid 50s myself but still like to keep in shape and strangely, as you say, the type of exercise I do is more body conditioning including ab crunching etc - I can totally see this now from your explanation.  Hmm, time to rewrite my programme me thinks.  Thanks again.
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  • Posted

    I am going to use the excuse now that the reason I don't exercise is because it might cause a flare of DD.
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  • Posted

    This is an interesting discussion to me because I had the same question, sort of.  I went to a chiropractor wondering whether (some of) my abdominal pain is due to my diver or whether it is referred pain due to degeneration in my lower back.  Turns out it's muscular, in particular the psoas muscle and some other muscle (ileo something) just above it that attaches to it.  I've felt the discomfort start up mid-way through a 2 mile walk and when I bend over to pick something up off the floor.  One time I lifted something fairly heavy and had a shooting (and screaming) pain, but it went away right away. 

    This is making it very difficult to figure out what's what because some discomfort may be wrong food.  When the chiro was poking around she found that these muscles are very tight and we are going to work on loosening them up and strengthening my core muscles (whichever ones they arerolleyes) because I have been using the wrong muscles to support my back.  This should be about a six week endeavor at which point, hopefully, the muscle pain will be taken care of and the back well-supported, leaving any other pain to be gas or rot in the diverticuli.

    One thing I noticed when I had my first diver pain was the chills; a sign to me that I'm coming down with something.  I never had a fever, or bleeding.  And since I started watching my diet and taking various natural remedies (probiotics, slippery elm, DGL, Vitamin D) I've just had discomfort on and off, and no chills or fever.

    I'm going to see my gut doctor this week and will ask about exercise, particularly crunches, rowing machines,  bicycling.  What Pete says makes sense to me.  Why stress out a system that's in trouble?  But, when I told my chiro that I was really concerned about her poking around, she said that the poking was nowhere near as stressful to the gut as a bowel movement.  So keep things soft and easy to move.

    I'll let you know what the doc says.

    Carol      P.S.  Where's my name at the top of this message?  Did I do something wrong?

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  • Posted

    I have literally just been diagnosed with diverticular disease after 5 years of being treated with Lanzoprasole for acid reflux, anyhow I have been told by my consultant beware of constipation this will cause flare up and no exercise I assume for the same reason and this is really what I wanted to get back to.  I have been told to increase my fibre intake gradually and the doctor told me to remember everything above the ground is fibre any under the grown is carbohydrates, so we will see.  But i am going to try using my bike (indoor one) and see how I get on.
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    • Posted

      Hmm that's interesting mrsmo.  Exercise is recommended but certainly you have to choose carefully - anything that doesn't strain or bend the gut so I would have thought that walking would be good but I have read reports from walkers who say it has brought on their diver.  I am doing a very low impact step class and just conditioning upper body. I am also trying squats and I would have thought that the plank position for abs would be okay too so will give that a go - will let you know how I get on.  I have a double whammy as I also suffer from fibromyalgia which rules out certain types of exercise too - I have put on a stone in the last year purely from lack of exercise - very frustrating and upsetting sad
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  • Posted

    I can understand the weight frustration I have over the last couple of years put on weight and am more than frustrated by it, so today the bike starts and for the next few days then I will gradually include other exercises being careful with the stretch side of things can only see how it goes
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  • Posted

    Thanks. I notice that when I do the leg stretch using a stretchy band it feels weird in my gut so I thought I'd ask if anyone else has the problem. The pain then goes on all day and I'm on paracetamol but it is exhausting and a hot water bottle also helps until I e slept..., sometimes a little brandy and soda water helps ease the tension in my gut.

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  • Posted

    During the last two years you may have figured out your routine. For me,

    I find it is easy to overlook the initial symptoms of a flare up. The

    Inflammation can take several weeks to bloom into a full blown attack. It's during these times my exercise can definitely push my diverticulosis over the edge. As soon as I realize I am having a flare up, I move to a liquid diet and major resting (no exercise). About a week later, I start walking. A week or two after all symptoms have subsided, I very gradually add to my exercise routine. For me I have found trying to rush back to quickly leads to relapse and more time off. Also, I can't find it in writing, but I'm convinced there is a link between stress, getting proper rest, and hormones cycles and flares. Anything that can knock down your immune system, can leave you susceptible to inflammation system wide and can lead into a flare.

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