Diverticulitis: A Functional Medicine Approach

Episode 77 35m


Over 200,000 people per year are treated for diverticulitis, a painful condition in which small pouches in the colon, called diverticula, become infected. Symptoms of diverticulitis include nausea, fever, chills, loss of appetite, and constipation. While conventional medicine treatments for diverticulitis usually consist of antibiotics and surgery, Functional Medicine looks at a wide variety of things like microbiome diversity, dietary fiber consumption, gut health, inflammation, and more, to both prevent and treat this condition. In this episode, Dr. Hyman discusses diverticulitis with Dr. George Papanicolaou. They talk about how lifestyle habits, such as a low fiber diet and elevated stress, can contribute to diverticulitis. They also share certain foods and supplements that are supportive and healing to the body. George Papanicolaou is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Board Certified in Family Medicine from Abington Memorial Hospital. He is also an Institute for Functional Medicine Practitioner. Upon graduation from his residency he joined the Indian Health Service. He worked on the Navajo reservation for 4 years at the Chinle Comprehensive Medical Facility where he served as the Outpatient Department Coordinator. In 2000, he founded Cornerstone Family Practice in Rowley, MA. He practiced with a philosophy centered on personal relationships and treating the whole person, not just not the disease. He called that philosophy “Whole Life Wellness.” Over time as the healthcare system made it harder for patients to receive this kind of personal care Dr. Papanicolaou decided a change was needed. He began training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine. In 2015, he established Cornerstone Personal Health—a practice dedicated entirely to Functional Medicine. Dr. Papanicolaou joined The UltraWellness Center in 2017. This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health and Athletic Greens. Rupa Health is a place for Functional Medicine practitioners to access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, Great Plains, and more. You can check out a free live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com. Right now, Athletic Greens is offering my listeners 10 free travel packs of AG1 when you make your first purchase. Just go to athleticgreens.com/hyman to take advantage of this great offer. In this conversation, Dr. Hyman and Dr. Papanicolaou discuss:
  • How overall fiber consumption has reduced over time
  • What diverticula are and how they can progress to diverticulitis
  • The symptoms of diverticulitis
  • Risk factors for developing diverticulitis
  • The difference between conventional medicine and Functional Medicine treatments for diverticulitis
  • Using bone broth and clove tea to heal a flare up
  • Why it’s a myth that you shouldn’t eat nuts and seeds if you have diverticulitis
  • Suggestions for how to add fiber to your diet
  • Supplements to support the body
  • Case study of a 50-year-old woman with diverticulitis

Resources Mentioned

Host & Guests


Automatically generated. Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Speaker 1: Coming up on this episode of The Doctor's Farmacy. Dr. George Papanicolaou: And we do this before people develop diverticulitis. We help them arrange their diet and their lifestyle because stress plays a big role in diverticulitis. Dr. Mark Hyman: Welcome to Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman. That's Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And today, well, maybe it's going to matter to you, but it affects about most people at some point in their life, which is diverticulosis and its companion problem diverticulitis. Now, my mother had it. My grandfather had it. It's pretty common. It's not the most exciting, sexy topic, but we're going to make it fun and sexy. Dr. Mark Hyman: And so, none other than my colleague and..

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Ep. 77 - Diverticulitis: A Functional Medicine Approach