DR. HOOK- Eschew seeds: Colon troubles spring from clogs

Heidi Klum, former supermodel and host of Project Runway, says, "In fashion, one day you're in, the next you're out." She's right— look at designer Isaac Mizrahi. One day he was in Nieman Marcus; now he's in Target.

In his documentary, Unzipped, Mizrahi introduced us to the world of high fashion and dealing with supermodels like Naomi Campbell– who thankfully didn't throw her cell phone at him. Linda Evangelista was on her 18th different hair color. And get this– they had to change behind a screen on stage during a runway show! Basically, Isaac turned his fashion show into a Playboy photo-shoot, sans Jennie McCarthy. All the supermodels were like, "No, no, no, I won't change behind a thin sheet on stage. Everyone will see my boobies and booty for free. They're worth at least $10,000 per viewing."

Now look at Isaac. He's reduced to feeling up Scarlett Johansson's breasts on national television. (If it were Angelina Jolie, she would have taken him down with one hand while holding an international baby in the other.) In Unzipped, his camera man/boyfriend even made Cindy Crawford mad by getting his camera in her face. She put her hand over the lens and said, "Hey, even my pores aren't that small." That's when I realized that we all have pores— even supermodels! But what happens if your colon develops pores?

Diverticulosis (a.k.a TICS) are pores in the colon. Normally the colon is smooth as Barbra Streisand without pores. However, pores can develop and cause trouble— like K-Fed to Britney Spears. TICS become more common with age: 5 percent of 40-year-olds, 30 percent of 60-year-olds, and 65 percent of 85-year-olds.  

TICS don't bother most people. But about 25 percent of others get diverticulitis (infection of the pore)– kind of like a pimple on the face. The pore gets clogged, bacteria builds up, and whitehead-city occurs. Pain gradually develops over a few days, and then fevers can "pop" up. Because most TICS develop towards the end of the "colon highway," most people have discomfort in the lower left abdomen at the end of the descending and sigmoid colon.  

Sometimes TICS can become an abscess– bad news. If the abscess pops, infection can spread to the whole abdominal cavity and be deadly. Ten percent of people with TICS can bleed. If it's a slow bleed, the person might not notice until she's tired from anemia. With a fast bleed, maroon stools and maybe bright red blood comes out during a bowel movement— not good! If the bleeding doesn't stop, that part of the colon might need to be surgically removed.

Usually, a person with diverticulitis has eaten something that plugged up the pores, like popcorn, blackberries, nuts, or other hard seeds. So much for "sowing the seeds of love." Hmm, I hope birds don't get TICS, because if they do, they are finished!  

Eating high fiber might help prevent the clogging of TICS, though there's some debate about that. In general, we all should be eating high fiber to help our bowel movements. Those who comment, "But high fiber makes me constipated and so gassy I turn into a foghorn" need to drink more water and keep up with the fiber. The more fiber you eat, the better your GI system will tolerate it.  

"Fiber, Fiber good for the colon. The more your eat, the more things get rollin."

CT scans and colonoscopy are good ways to diagnose TICS and diverticulitis. As you get older and the clock keeps TIC, TIC, TICking, be aware of colon discomfort because you might have diverticulosis. Talk to your doctor and let this information pore out of you.


1 comment

My father was hospitalized for bleeding diverticulosis around a year ago, and I was this year. My father is now back in the hospital and was bleeding so profusely that he had emergency surgery to remove his colon and will be wearing a colostomy bag. As of yet, the family has not been advised if the current problems are caused by cancer.
I find it very troubling, as well as unprofessional of you to speak of diverticulosis as you did in your article. Although I did not suffer any pain, the constant bleeding, lab tests, transfusions and the frequent colonoscopies are nothing to speak lightly of.