Wednesday, January 11, 2017
By Amy Norton HealthDay January 11, 2017, 2:16 PM
Men who eat a lot of red meat may have a higher risk of a painful inflammatory condition of the colon, a new study suggests.
The disorder, called diverticulitis, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and constipation. And it can lead to complications such as tears or blockages in the colon.
The new study found that men who ate the most red meat were 58 percent more likely to develop diverticulitis, compared to men who ate the least.
The findings don’t prove cause-and-effect, stressed senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
On the other hand, he said, there are already reasons to think about cutting down on red meat. Heavy consumption has been tied to higher risks of heart disease and certain cancers, Chan pointed out.
“This study offers one more reason to consider limiting the red meat in your diet,” he said.
As people age, it’s common for “pouches” to form in the lining of the colon; over half of Americans aged 60 and older have them, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Most people who have these pouches suffer no problems, but around 5 percent develop diverticulitis -- where the pouches become infected or inflamed.
Roughly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for diverticulitis each year, the NIH says.
The new findings, published online Jan. 9 in the journal Gut, are based on a long-term study of more than 46,000 male health professionals.