Diverticulosis – Why Fewer Asians and Africans Get It...
Many people have diverticulosis but are not aware of it...
Diverticulosis occurs when the outer layer of the large intestine (colon) weakens and give way in many spots, and the inner lining bulges outwards in pouches or sacs. (It is like the inner tube that protrudes out through holes on the walls of a worn-out tire.)
In 10% to 25% of people who are suffering from it, the pouches ruptures and become infected and inflamed -- a condition called diverticulitis.
(The difference between diverticulosis and diverticulitis.)
Like many other colon-related problems, diverticular disease is common in English-speaking, Western countries. But it is extremely rare in Asia and Africa.
According to Medicinenet.com,
"Diverticular disease is common in the Western world but is extremely rare in areas such as Asia and Africa."
The Wikipedia online encyclopedia website goes further by identifying these Western nations:
"About 10% of the US population over the age of 40 and half over the age of 60 has diverticulosis. This disease is common in the US, England, Australia, Canada, and is uncommon in Asia and Africa."
The statistical data indicates that everyone (living in the West) would be affected by diverticulosis sooner or later:
Diverticulosis and Sitting Toilets
"… Almost everyone over age 80 (in the West) have diverticulosis."
-- Medical College of Wisconsin
For 20 long years, the underlying cause of diverticulosis -- the use of sitting toilets -- had all along been confirmed by research.
Dr B. A. Sikirov, the Israeli physician who did extensive clinical research on the
use of squatting to treat hemorrhoids in 1987,
had also looked into diverticulosis.
This was what he found [Etiology and Pathogenesis of Diverticulosis Coli: A New Approach; Medical Hypotheses, May 1988; 26(1):17-20]:
"Colonic diverticulosis develops as a result of excessive straining at defecation due to habitual bowel emptying in a sitting posture, which is typical of Western man."
"The magnitude of straining during habitual bowel emptying in a sitting posture is at least three-fold more than in a squatting posture and upon urge. The latter (squatting) defecation posture is typical of latrine pit users in underdeveloped nations."
Dr Sikirov went on to explain the consequences of sitting for waste evacuation:
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"The bowels of Western man are subjected to lifelong excessive pressures which result in protrusions of mucosa through the bowel wall at points of least resistance.
This hypothesis is consistent with recent findings of elastosis of the bowel wall muscles, the distribution of diverticula along the colon, as well as with epidemiological data on the emergence of diverticulosis coli as a medical problem and its geographic prevalence."
Recall that diverticula (bulging pouches or sacs) mostly occur in the sigmoid colon (and also descending colon) on the left side of the body.
Read why the sigmoid colon is so prone to diverticular disease.
Many Doctors Don't Know Squat
The mainstream doctors who are supposed to help those who are suffering are ignorant of, or refuse to acknowledge the connection between toilet posture and diverticular disease.
As a result, the treatments for diverticular disease don't address the root cause, but on clearing up infection and inflammation, and minimizing complications. And when everything don't work out, there is always the surgical knife.
For decades, and up till now, doctors and medical researchers have come up with theories and explanations for the high incidence of diverticulosis in the West. The most dominant (but unproven) theory is the high fiber theory...
Mayo Clinic on Digestive Health:
US National Institutes of Health:
"The disease was first noticed in the United States in the early 1900s. At about the same time, processed foods were introduced into the American diet. Many processed foods contain refined, low-fiber flour."
"Although not proven, the dominant theory is that a low-fiber diet is the main cause of diverticular disease."
"Diverticular disease is common in developed or industrialized countries -- particularly the United States, England, and Australia -- where low-fiber diets are common. The disease is rare in countries of Asia and Africa, where people eat high-fiber vegetable diets."
Fiber from whole plants has been shown to have beneficial effects. So there's good reason to keep eating it. But it is not the main factor in diverticular disease.
Rather than fiber, the introduction and proliferation of sitting toilets that is the key factor for the emergence of diverticulosis and other colon-related problems.
Although the first modern (sitting) water closet was invented by John Harrington in 1596, it was in the mid 19th century (ie: 1850's onwards), at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, that sitting toilets took root in England. It then spread to the other Western countries.
US National Institutes of Health:
Aside from fiber, constipation was thought to be another main cause of diverticulosis:
"Constipation makes the muscles strain to move stool that is too hard. It is the main cause of increased pressure in the colon. This excess pressure might cause the weak spots in the colon to bulge out and become diverticula."
However the closest the medical establishment ever came to identifying the real cause of diverticulosis was the realisation that it has something to do with straining for bowel movements:
"...Diverticula usually develop when naturally weak places in your colon give way under pressure... These marble-sized pouches... often occur as a result of straining during bowel movements over a number of years."
If the researchers had gone deeper, explored further, examined the data carefully, they would have know the truth about diverticulosis, and how it can be prevented. Again, quoting Dr Sikirov:
1) Colonic diverticulosis develops as a result of excessive straining at defecation due to habitual bowel emptying in a sitting posture.
2) The (squatting) defecation posture in underdeveloped nations.
But that did not happen.
Today, the porcelain throne remains entrenched in Western society; as a result, most Westerner adults have lost the ability to squat easily and comfortably.
First taking root in England in the 19th century, the sitting toilet continues its relentless march. It is making huge inroads even in countries where people have traditionally been using squatting toilets.
As long as sitting toilets are used, there would be -- in the words of Mayo Clinic -- a lot of "straining during bowel movements over many years."
It really boils down to toileting posture...whether one sits or squats for waste elimination.
By and large, the medical establishment do not want to talk about it. The companies that make the drugs and/or surgical equipment for treating diverticulosis and diverticulitis would rather not have you know that...
Squatting for bowel movements
is the no-cost, natural remedy and cure
for diverticulosis and diverticulitis...
But will people take heed and act, if they know?
One point though. If you desire to change, but have never used squatting toilets before, you might find it difficult to squat easily, as explained on this page about squatting facets. But you can regain the ability to squat again with some practice.
This would then allow you to switch from sitting to squatting for waste elimination, using one of the options listed
If you don't have a squatting toilet at home, a simple solution would be to use a toilet squatting platform or converter.
Find Out More...
If you would like to learn more about the connection between toileting posture and diverticulosis and other colon health problems, you might be interested to read the newly published book Nature Knows Best
written by Jonathan Isbit.
You can find out more about Nature Knows Best by visiting this page.
Go from Diverticulosis to Home Page.
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