Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 9, pp 2648–2654 | Cite as

Breath Methane Levels Are Increased Among Patients with Diverticulosis

  • Cemal Yazici
  • Deniz Cagil Arslan
  • Rana Abraham
  • Kelly Cushing
  • Ali Keshavarzian
  • Ece A. MutluEmail author
Original Article



Diverticulosis and its complications are important healthcare problems in the USA and throughout the Western world. While mechanisms as to how diverticulosis occurs have partially been explored, few studies examined the relationship between colonic gases such as methane and diverticulosis in humans.


This study aimed to demonstrate a significant relationship between methanogenic Archaea and development of diverticulosis.


Subjects who consecutively underwent hydrogen breath test at Rush University Medical Center between 2003 and 2010 were identified retrospectively through a database. Medical records were reviewed for presence of a colonoscopy report. Two hundred and sixty-four subjects were identified who had both a breath methane level measurement and a colonoscopy result. Additional demographic and clinical data were obtained with chart review.


Mean breath methane levels were higher in subjects with diverticulosis compared to those without diverticulosis (7.89 vs. 4.94 ppm, p = 0.04). Methane producers (defined as those with baseline fasting breath methane level >5 ppm) were more frequent among subjects with diverticulosis compared to those without diverticulosis (50.9 vs. 34 %, p = 0.0025). When adjusted for confounders, breath methane levels and age were the two independent predictors of diverticulosis on colonoscopy with logistic regression modeling.


Methanogenesis is associated with the presence of diverticulosis. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and prospectively evaluate a possible etiological role of methanogenesis and methanogenic archaea in diverticulosis.


Breath methane level Diverticulosis Methanogenesis Methanogenic archaea 



We would like to acknowledge Meltem Yalcin, Mark T. DeMeo, Michael D. Brown, Keith Bruninga, Sohrab Mobarhan, Garth Swanson, John Losurdo, Neha Mathur and Disha Mahendra for their support in gathering the data, and for the clinical care of the patients in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest that arises from financial relationships between the authors of this article (Cemal Yazici, Deniz Cagil Arslan, Rana Abraham, Kelly Cushing, Ali Keshavarzian and Ece A. Mutlu) and any commercial or proprietary entity that produces healthcare-related products and/or services related to the content of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cemal Yazici
    • 1
  • Deniz Cagil Arslan
    • 2
  • Rana Abraham
    • 2
  • Kelly Cushing
    • 3
  • Ali Keshavarzian
    • 2
  • Ece A. Mutlu
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of MedicineUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical CenterRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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