, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 419-427,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Sep 2011

A systematic review of high-fibre dietary therapy in diverticular disease

Abstract

Purpose

The exact pathogenesis of diverticular disease of the sigmoid colon is not well established. However, the hypothesis that a low-fibre diet may result in diverticulosis and a high-fibre diet will prevent symptoms or complications of diverticular disease is widely accepted. The aim of this review is to assess whether a high-fibre diet can improve symptoms and/or prevent complications of diverticular disease of the sigmoid colon and/or prevent recurrent diverticulitis after a primary episode.

Methods

Clinical studies were eligible for inclusion if they assessed the treatment of diverticular disease or the prevention of recurrent diverticulitis with a high-fibre diet. The following exclusion criteria were used for study selection: studies without comparison of the patient group with a control group.

Results

No studies concerning prevention of recurrent diverticulitis with a high-fibre diet met our inclusion criteria. Three randomised controlled trials (RCT) and one case–control study were included in this systematic review. One RCT of moderate quality showed no difference in the primary endpoints. A second RCT of moderate quality and the case–control study found a significant difference in favour of a high-fibre diet in the treatment of symptomatic diverticular disease. The third RCT of moderate quality found a significant difference in favour of methylcellulose (fibre supplement). This study also showed a placebo effect.

Conclusion

High-quality evidence for a high-fibre diet in the treatment of diverticular disease is lacking, and most recommendations are based on inconsistent level 2 and mostly level 3 evidence. Nevertheless, high-fibre diet is still recommended in several guidelines.