Sue's Blog

Diverticulitis from daily low dose aspirin - and IBS from dietary salicylates


I asked readers if they felt medication had triggered their salicylate sensitivity – and here is an interesting answer from story [1671] 

I had a heart attack last July and was put on prasugrel (blood thinner) and daily low dose aspirin. By the end of September, I was having stomach issues which continued to worsen. By end of October, I started questioning the aspirin, as I knew it could be hard on the stomach, but my cardiologist said I had to have it. By November, I had a CT scan that showed diverticulitis. I also had an eczema outbreak at the same time.

I had IBS-D for years, but never did it go into diverticulitis. I tried a bland diet for months, but the flatulence, bloating and diarrhea continued. My general practitioner suggested a specialist and a colonoscopy (not available till this coming May).

About two weeks ago, I finally asked the cardiologist about quitting the aspirin and he said ok if I doubled the blood thinner. I started eating low salicylates, too. The flatulence and bloating are gone and the diarrhea is now maybe twice a week, treated with Imodium. I am hopeful that more time will allow my stomach to heal … I definitely think the daily aspirin caused the diverticulitis and is a salicylate sensitivity.

This also reminded me that my son and I have both had strange mouth reactions to certain foods, especially during high pollen seasons (bucket overflowing). I am allergic to eggs, confirmed by testing, and many pollens and mold. I have reacted to antibiotics and ibuprofen in the past, too. I also have chronic anxiety which I believe is related to all of this… Anyway, I definitely think the daily aspirin caused the diverticulitis and is a salicylate sensitivity - Michelle

This report may be an answer to the question in story [537]: Is there anyone else with salicylate intolerance misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

I have completed the elimination diet … I have an intolerance to salicylates. My father is a gastroenterologist and when I first had symptoms … (stress, constipation, headaches, sinusitis etc) he thought it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) … his colleague … also stated the diagnosis was IBS … these gastroenterologists never considered that the problem may be related to diet, and they didn't even know what salicylates were! … both of them are very professional doctors and have both been head of the gastroenterology department at hospital - so you would think they would know something about it …. It took my dad a long time to recognise that salicylates exist - I had to show him websites and papers that linked it to behavioural problems for him to really believe me. He just thought I was on some crazy diet and that there was no real basis to it!

My concern is this – that there are many people out there… who may have this food intolerance and be provided with the easy diagnosis of IBS … an IBS diagnosis really doesn’t help anyone … because there isn’t much you can do for it. And unless you keep searching for a solution … you may never know you have an intolerance because salicylates are in everything!

Further reading

Diverticulitis at - it would seem the second story is correct – that gastroenterologists don’t realise when a problem may be related to salicylate sensitivity.