Does this sound like diverticulitis?

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I've had on and off again pain in my lower abdomen for the last couple of months. I was on meloxicam and another drug for prostate issues. My doctor thought that was causing the abdominal pain.The pain went away after I stopped taking the meds. 

Fast forward a couple more weeks, the pain in my abdomen came back and seemed to move around. It was a low grade dullish pain that was more a nuisance than anything.The pain went away again for about a week and now is back again. However, this time, I have a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. It comes and goes and rarely lasts for more than a few seconds. I don't have any other symptoms other than being gassier than usual. My bowel movements are normal other than occasional bright red blood in stool. My appetite is normal and I have no fever. 

I'm scheduled to see a GP the end of the week but am thinking of just cutting to the chase and scheduling something with a GI doctor. Does this sound like diverticulitis? Could it be something else? 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Diverticular Disease certainly sounds a possibility and a colonoscopy and/or CT scan would be required to give a definitive diagnosis.  The location and description of the pain also sounds about right for inflamed diverticula.  If there was an actual infection you would normally also have a temperature, fever/chills, altered bowel movements, feel lousy.  Frank red blood could be from a ruptured diverticulum, but it could also be from piles or a small tear.  It's the dark and hidden blood that is more serious.  The usual treatment for inflammation is to go on a liquid only diet for about 48 hours, then a low residue diet (no fibre) for a few days.  This gives the bowel a rest.  Then slowly build up your SOLUBLE fibre until you are following the healthy fibre rich diet that all doctors recommend for everything. 

    Depends if you are UK or USA based and if you have health insurance or not.  I've heard of people being referred by GP through the NHS having to wait 9 months for a colonoscopy if it's considered non-urgent.  I was lucky and got in under the 2 week cancer testing rule, to be told severe Diverticular Disease only.

    • Posted

      Thanks for the detailed reply. It seems like a lot of people here feel SEVERE pain when they have a flare up. My pain is only relatively mild and comes and goes. 

      Is it more typical for diverticular pain to be constant or it more common for it to come and go? 

    • Posted

      When it's just mild inflammation it can come and go as stabs, often with a certain movement like sitting, bending, stretching, lifting.  Certainly mine came like this, except when I was in an infectious flare.  Then the pain was severe and came over me in wave after wave and totally crippled me.  It was like birth pains.  I did find if I laid flat on my back and palpated my stomach quite firmly, I could identify the exact spot(s) where I had pain.  That would be the location of the particular diverticula causing problems.  People often say the pain moves around and I suspect that might be due to the location of multiple diverticula (although I'm not a medical person, just guessing).  Even now almost 18 months after the last flare I get the occasional stab.

    • Posted

      I think I'm gonna try the liquid diet to see if that helps at all. I really want to avoid taking antibiotics if I can. 

    • Posted

      If you are in the UK and there's no evidence of infection through blood/urine tests you are unlikely to be given antibiotics.  My GP won't prescribe them now, citing concerns over antibiotic resistance.  If you are in the USA, where money rules to line the medical profession's pockets, watch out for overkill where every test under the sun gets done plus some, and the surgeon is already sharpening the scalpel.  You are right to try and manage with diet and lifestyle changes while you can.

    • Posted

      When your pain worsened, was there anything you ate or did that caused it to really get bad? 

      Just to add to my earlier comment, in addition to my lower generalized abdominal pain, there are three exact spots in my abdomen where I experience pain on and off. Will see what the doc has to say this week. 

    • Posted

      Yes, for me it was high fat and gluten, but everyone is different.  Most of us keep or have kept a food diary to identify our problem foods.  It can be all sorts of things, peanuts, red meat, certain tough vegetables, tomatoes, skins, pips, seeds, dairy.  I peel or skin a lot of my foods, but I can take dairy and a little red meat, where others can't.  Also until the inflammation subsided, bending and sitting hurt.  Trial and error to find out what suits you, I'm afraid.

      And I see you've identified your hot spots where you probably have inflamed diverticula.  Cynically I expect the doctor will be of little help in managing the disease.  Because everyone is different, there is a lot of conflicting "do's" and "don'ts" and recent thinking has changed the advice.  It is less about food, although following a healthy diet with high soluble fibre still applies.  There is recognition that genetics and stress plays a part as well.  My Consultant did not even bother to see me, just sent a letter saying "only Diverticular Disease, a benign condition" and a leaflet identical to one I had 15 years earlier.  I would say just do what works for you.

    • Posted

      I didn’t realize this was so diet dependent until inserted googling my symptoms. I was fine for a week and then I started eating steel cut oatmeal in the morning and the pain seemed to come back. I was also snacking on chocolate. Then I played tennis and it made the pain even worse. 

      Garlic seems to help. And when I first had symptoms 3 months ago I thought it was an ulcer and drank cabbage juice and the pain went away.

    • Posted

      I have rolled oats which I soak overnight, rather than oatmeal.  It reduced the harshness.  I know of someone who swapped All Bran for Bran Flakes for the same reason.  There's fibre and a more suitable type of fibre.  Chocolate - now that's a new one on me. 

      Imagine if you had cut your leg, and it was healing but still red and a bit inflamed.  Then you ran around on it.  I'd bet it would hurt a bit - just saying "Hi, I'm not ready for this yet".  Your insides still have to heal, and that can take weeks.  Just think of all the bugs going round in your colon, and why you wash your hands each time you use the toilet.

      My friend swears by ginger tea, and I like peppermint tea.  Also pure Aloe Vera Juice is a natural remedy that has been used for healing for centuries in the Canary Islands.  I used to take 2 teaspoons a day (it's revolting but seems to help a lot of people), but now I take a pure gel capsule daily.  Don't think I could live with the smell of cabbage juice - hydrogen sulphide or rotten eggs, if I remember my chemistry from 50 years ago!

    • Posted

      Hi can we email please i have the same symptoms and was told i had colonic diverticulitis

      Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service.

    • Posted

      What are your symptoms exactly and how bad is your pain?  And what course of treatment did they recommend? 
    • Posted

      I have sent you a private message.  Your inbox should be flashing a red spot - just click on that.
  • Posted

    I'm sort of self diagnosing myself with a low level diverticular disease while I await my GI appointment in May. 

    I'd be interested to know if you get to the bottom of this before I may (NHS waiting time..)

    As I'm suffering from a low level dullish ache type pain lower left abdomen and everything seems to point to diverticula.

    Do you find it more apparent if you move quickly or certain positions? and in other positions you can make it pretty much disappear (I know mine seems..more apparent if I'm purposely outstretched or hunched over - if I naturally curl up in bed I don't really notice it and when I'm walking its barely there also)  

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