NSAIDS, other pain killers as cause of diverticular disease?

Hello folks

On top of everything else I have been diagnosed with diverticula disease. This is odd, since I am predominantly vegetarian, and eat mostly beans, lentils, peas and veg. I make my own whole meal bread. Plenty of roughage!

I am wondering if this disease could have been caused by the long term use of various pain killing meds?

Does anyone else suffer with diverticular disease here? What are your views on the cause (in your case?).

I am also wondering how being immunosuppressed will impact on the disease?

I would be grateful to hear others views and experiences.

19 Replies

  • Hi Nettie,

    My mother in law suffers from this though, on occasion, it changes to diverticulitis, meaning the bowel becomes inflamed. I was told by a clinician in a colonoscopy unit that diverticula disease means 'ageing' bowel. I don't know your age nor would I want to suggest you're getting on a bit but if you're still youngish I can only think you're right and it is the meds you're on.

    Well that's my bit in the melting pot I hope someone else comes along who can help better than me!

    Love, Legs X

  • Sympathy! I've heard tell that some people have no or few symptomsfrom it, so perhaps that's you....but if you're like me it can be a painful £&@#%^.

    Have you been veggie all your life? I tend to blame poor habits in my youth setting up the condition which only showed symptoms more recently. I also eat an extremely good high plant diet, take exercise, don't smoke or drink (much) so also feel it's a bit unfair.

    Apparently some people find roughage makes it worse, but like everything it seems to be trial and error to work out what triggers pain.

    As yet, although I get regular bouts of pain I have never had an attack of full blown diverticulitis so I'm hoping that will continue despite being immune compromised.....

    My GP has given me anti-spasmodics, but they don't seem to make any difference. HAve you found anything to help?

  • Oh, and I rarely used NSAIDs before diverticular disease showed it's head, and even now only very occasionally. So I don't blame them.

  • Yes, have eaten predominantly meat free most of my life. I get protein from lentils beans and nuts etc. I do eat oily fish and the odd egg. Also natural live yogurt.

    Maybe some folks are more susceptible to it?

  • Hi... just seen your post and thought i would let you know my experience but dont let this alarm you.. i am sure i was just unlucky.

    My RA started years ago with little trouble apart from the flare that started it all ( its in the family). i was not on any treatment since i was initially diagnosed apart from naproxen as and when needed.

    A couple of years ago i got severe diverticulitis out of the blue. In my opinion ( an ex nurse) i was left far too long before i had surgery to remove the affected part of my bowel. By this stage i was very ill .. not eating etc. My recovery wasn't good as i then developed ... out of the blue... auto immune thyroiditis ( hyperthyroid) and a few weeks later a really bad RA flare.

    I am now on mtx etc and its well controlled but i am convinced the diverticulitis was caused by the naproxen. Its listed on the data sheet as a side effect but the docs at the hospital didn't seem convinced.

    I am fine now but no more nuts sweetcorn or mushrooms for me.. apparently a major cause.

    I hope my story helps but please dont be alarmed by


  • Unfortunately longterm use of NASIDs and corticoids does higher the risk for diverticulities. DMARDs on the other hand seem to have a protective effect usually. This is what research tell us. I have no personal experience but am a bit nervous about the NASIDs that I still need to take.

  • Hi Nettie,

    Mine is a long story but I will keep it brief. I had diverticulitis and had part of my colon removed, I also had a colostomy bag for 18 months. After the reversal I developed a incisional hernia which I had repaired but developed a very nasty infection in the wound that was treated for 16 weeks. Before all this I was perfectly healthy. God knows how many antibiotics I received but I remember one of them was nicknamed "Domestos" because it killed everything! After all this, low and behold I had type 2 Diabetes and a little while later developed RA. I believe that our immune systems are so important to us and we should look after it as a matter of priority. Far more research should be done into our immune systems as I think it holds the key to curing so many different diseases. Just imagine a treatment or diet that would bring it into proper balance, many conditions would simply disappear.

  • Crikey! Poor you!

    So sorry to hear all that.

    Still the most irritating part for me is that when I suggest that problem is drug induced, I get 'can't possibly be the case!'

    I'm not going to take folks to court for goodness sake! I just want acknowledgement, and some help in reversing the problems.

  • I agree, they all just seem to sing from the same "hymn sheet. It would be nice just to get some help looking after your immune system and avoid taking things that damage it (where possible). NSAIDs didn't agree with me and they did not help alleviate symptoms anyway.

  • High risk of stroke on nsaids too!

  • I totally agree on that one I have always been healthy never ill only get 1 cold a year and goes after a few days but since being on Methatrexate colds last about 2 weeks so I reckon it is definitely the drug

  • I have had this for years. The GP I had then gave me naisds for spondilosis, I took them for 7-8 years getting stronger and stronger as time went on. Then I was diagnosed with diverticulitis all down to the pills which I had for at least 20 yrs, I found that eating too many pulses and especially onions and any kind of beans is really bad for me. I suppose that other people find different foods effect them, but after so many years it is very much trial and error with diet. Now I can't take naisds at all.x

  • Thanks all for comments.

    I am only 54 going on 104! I am pretty much convinced it's the pain killers have caused this. Despite a very good diet, high in roughage, I have had chronic diarrhoea for a year. I had a nasty bout of diverticulitis just before an arthritis flare. I thought I was dying!!

    Sadly I moved house three years ago, and had to give up my wonderful GP of thirty years. Sure do miss her! My current practice is not great, I never see the same doctor, and half the time they don't seem to read consultant notes, or add together the various chronic disorders I have.

    Interestingly, I had a capability for work interview yesterday. Glad to report person doing interview was a GP! He was quite concerned about a few things and sent a fax to my GP. GP rang within minutes of getting back home asking me to go see him.

    In the mean time, I am going to try not having any pain killers😳

  • There are safer alternatives for pain killers. Paracytamol and several homeopatic and herbal alternatives may be of help. Good luck:)

  • Wow, that's a good result from your capability to work interview isn't it. Hopefully your GP will get his act together and get you sorted out. 🙂

  • Yes, he was a really nice chap. Totally different from the PIP interviewer!

  • My wife had diverticulitis and is still registered with diverticular disease. She doesn't and didn't take any form of medication and we've always had a balanced diet. Maybe you've just drawn from the lottery of bad luck. I hope you'll not get diverticulitis and wish you all the best.

  • i suffer with this as well nothing to do with medication I think I got it after a trio to Egypt I was ill for the time we were there and I never seemed to get better was diagnosed about 1 year later I was in my late 40's x

  • I had diverticular disease of the gut explained to me as "little blow-outs on the side of the gut after it has been blown up and deflated for years by the passage of material through it".

    Sometimes the little blow-outs, or pockets, get infected and cause pain and sometimes worse, but usually not.

    There still seem to be differences of opinion about high fibre diets being protective. It seems logical that if the pressure rises more in the gut while the muscle is trying to propel a hard motion, then blow-outs would also be more likely, so a high fibre diet would reduce the pressure and reduce the likelihood, but may not be protective completely.

    Hope that helps.

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