Do I even have Diverticulitis?

Posted in the Diverticulitis Forum

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GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#1 Jun 10, 2011
I am a 41 year old male in good health. Never had serious intestinal problems although stress gives me diarrhea. I could count the time I have been constipated on one hand and it was never more than a day or so.

4 weeks ago I was in the hospital with lower left abdominal pain and mild constipation, then diarrhea after taking some prune juice. No chills or fever. After a brief, purely physical exam with no blood tests, the emergency room doc said I have Div and put me on Cipro and a liquid diet. A few days later, the pain was gone and I began eating a high fibre diet. Since then I have been good, and bowel movements as regular as clockwork.

I had a follow up with my doc who ordered blood tests, urine sample, stool sample, a stomach xray and booked me for a barium enema which is due in a few weeks. The results of all the tests done came back negative, except one which showed a slightly higher level which may have indicated an infection at some point. He told me he is not really convinced I have Div, which is why he ordered all the tests. He said usually there is fever and usually a history of some constipation of which I have neither.

Does anyone have any idea of what I could have had? Do you think it was Div? The only thing I will add is I was horribly sick with a Norovirus about 2 weeks prior to this incident with nasty vomiting and watery run for a few days. It was definitely a virus as just about every one in my family had it too.

I've been pretty worried about it but I will say this high fibre diet is the best thing I could have done for myself in any case.
Nancy

Las Vegas, NV

#2 Jun 10, 2011
Sounds like a bacterial thing. Sometimes after anitbiotics they wipe out all the good bacteria you need.

Perhaps a natural cleasing with a tea. Div is something that is extremely painful. I had to barrium enema to make sure the colon was working. All was ok.

Div. is inflamation with pockets that get inflamed. Foods trigger it.
Elizabeth

Melbourne, Australia

#3 Jun 11, 2011
GaryMW. I will add my bit. You obviously had an infection with a blockage pertaining to the previous virus. I was in hospital for 6.5 days, never knew I had the problem, but had had a bit of pain off and on previously. I did not have a high fever, and the nurse was inclined to disregard the slightly elevated temperature. It was good to see the doctor disagreed with her. The pain was bad.
Gillian

UK

#4 Jun 11, 2011
Gary, I think your doctor is right in questioning the diagnosis. Diverticular disease/diveticulitis cannot be can't be confirmed without a CT scan,colonoscopy or barium enema.

My husband had a similar experience (he also gets diahorrea when stressed). He suddenly had a bad pain in the lower left abdomen which lasted for a few hours then went away on its own. His doctor suspected diveticulitis. When he had the tests they found a couple of small diverticular pouches in his colon but said that most people his age had them and that they were definitely not large enough to cause problems. He ended up with a diagnosis of IBS.

This happened to him after a course of antibiotics gave him chronic diahorrea.

As I have diver I put him on my probiotics and gave him the same high fibre diet that I am on and he is now back to normal.
reinatj

Rome, NY

#5 Jun 11, 2011
Hi Gary, I suffered from Diver for a 1 1/2 years. I had 6 infections. Pain was on lower left side, & I had no fever. The high fiber diet did not help me much. I gave up eating foods with seeds and not nuts of any kind. No corn. But still every few monts the unfection was back. So I had to have a Bowel resection done last August. It was the best think I did. Recovery from surgery was not bad. It took about 6 months to feel like myself again. Now I can eat alll foods and I have had no problems. Gillian is right in saying you cannot confirm Diver with out a cat scan or colonoscopy. The Cat scan will show the infection when you are having an attach of Divertiulitis. Good luck to you and keep us posted as to how you make out.
tetris

United States

#6 Jun 11, 2011
Gary,
I have my second bout of Div. I presented with no fever although I had a white count of 20,000. The pain was incredible. Bowel movements went from constipation to diaherrea. I was also diagnosed with a nasty bowel infection know as C-Diff. This can follow a course of antibiotics that destroys all the good flora in your digestive tract. if you happen to ingest the spore you could get the infection. This should have shown in your stool sample, but sometimes not. Get checked again. Wash your handy throughly and frequently. The best test for Div is a CT Scan and a colonoscopy. Demand them. Also demand answers to all your question or your Dr.s will leave with a lot of unanwered questions and a lot of sleepness nights.
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#7 Jun 11, 2011
Unbelievably, since I just posted this last night, this morning I woke up, used the bathroom as per normal but about 30 minutes later here I am with pain in the same spot. Lower left side right of the hip bone. Normal bowel movements over for the last few weeks, and a good, high fibre diet. No other symptoms but the pain.

Could I be having some sort of muscle pull, hernia thing going on? Even though the doc did check me for for the typical hernia? Even though I really am not pushing hard for the bowel movement or anything could I be injured in some way?

I wonder this because yesterday I loved something quite heavy. Didn't hurt at the time but my back/side seems to bothering me a bit as well.

I will note that this pain in my abdomen only hurts when I move. When I was diagnosed with Div it was the same, really only hurt when I moved or changed position. Lying on my back, sleeping/resting didn't really hurt much. Hurts to push on but no rebound tenderness.

I can also say that the noro/flu thing I had wreaked havoc with my stomach muscles and groin muscles because I vomited hard and long, for about 8-10 hours every 20 minutes or so. Definitely pulled some muscles that day.

I'm just casting about for possibilities here. Part of me wants to go to the hospital but I really don't want to spend the day there if I have nothing wrong.

Thanks everyone for your advise.
Georgia

United States

#8 Jun 11, 2011
Hi GaryMW, First let me say that your Dr. should by all means do further testing to make sure it is nothing else. I do however think since you responded so quickly to the antibiotics and liquid diet that there is a chance it is Diver. That said, till the Dr. finds out if it is something else, I would procede as if I had Diver and go on a liquid diet till the pain goes away. I have had Diver for over 10 years. During my last 4 years of working under huge stress, I was having an attack every 4 months like clockwork. I was eating lots of veggies and fiber. I retired, and I realized one and a half years later my attacks magically had quit. It was then that I realized my attacks were caused by stress. I also need to add that I believe my attacks were mild as I never did have a temperature with any of my attacks. I used to just take the antibiotics and my attack would be gone. No Dr. ever gave me the heads up on what to eat during an attack. Now I have to go on liquid diet for a few days, then 3 or 4 weeks on a low fiber diet before I can get back to my fiber foods.
Good luck!!!
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#9 Jun 11, 2011
Another question. Can diverticulitis attacks/pain go away on its own? Without antibiotics?
Georgia

United States

#10 Jun 11, 2011
I think you should be very very careful and if the pain gets worse or if you feel worse, head straight for the Dr's office or the ER. I think it depends on how bad the attacks are. I think mine are pretty mild compared to some of the people on here. I will say that I no longer use antibiotics. Actually a new Dr. refused to give me any more antibiotics because I had an attack that would keep coming back after the dose of antibiotics was done. She wanted me to have ANOTHER Colonoscopy. I knew that was not necessary and I had no insurance so I was pretty panicked till I found this forum and found the pain went away if I went on a liquid diet, then ate low fiber foods, while keeping my meals the size of a 1/2 sandwich, like this forum told me to do, and took a few over the counter pills like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. Remember I never had a temperature. My Dr didn't have a clue about what a person should be eating or not eating during an attack.
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#11 Jun 11, 2011
At least my doctor recommended the liquid diet during the attack. I don't know what I am having right now but I've taken it upon myself to put myself on a liquid diet until I see where this goes. I have eaten nothing today at all, just water, juice. Thinking about having a Boost in a little bit,

The pain is less than what it was earlier and actually seems to be getting a tiny bit better.

For most sufferers, is the pain always there when having an attack? I ask this because I have had infections before, wounds etc. They hurt all the time, and more if you move the affected part. Lying down and staying still makes my pain go away. Is that normal?

Like I said, My doctor was second guessing the ER docs diagnosis and ordered those other tests. I asked him about a CT scan and he tries to avoid them until absolutely needed because he doesn't like the radiation dose from them.
Georgia

United States

#12 Jun 11, 2011
The biggest problem with trying to help someone that has Diverticulitis is everybody is different. some have bad attacks and some have not so bad attacks. As for me, most of the time I blow up like a basketball and don't have to much pain that I can't fix with an over the counter. I think if I lie down the pain goes away. If the Boost makes it hurt go back to a clear liquid diet. It is always good that you have a Dr. that cares!!!!
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#13 Jun 11, 2011
Thanks Georgia.

I have been doing a TON of reading here and elsewhere on the net and indeed everyones experiences are different. Everyones methods of dealing with it, and the foods that help or set it off vary widely as well.

I have had a run of gas today, with mild cramps. At this point, the gas and cramps have subsided and the pain in my left side remains, but mild and really only with movement. In fact, when I get up and walk around, once I start moving the pain goes away completely.

Can you tell me more what constitutes a mild attack for you and how you handle it.
Anne

Mississauga, Canada

#14 Jun 11, 2011
GaryMW wrote:
Another question. Can diverticulitis attacks/pain go away on its own? Without antibiotics?
Hi Gary,

Sorry to see you are having pain. Everyone is different but a lot of times flares of pain can go away on their own without antibiotics when you go on a clear fluid diet for a few days. Then you go to low residue for awhile and then gradually add fiber back in. Major attacks definitely need the antibiotics, which for me is when the pain gets to the point when you press on it, it is very tender. I last took antibiotics over a year ago but have had several flares since then where I didn't have to take the meds after going on a clear fluid diet for a few days. The meds made me very ill so I try my best to make sure I don't have to take them again. If the pain is severe though it is always best to go to the hospital or doctor to get the proper treatment. Good Luck!
Georgia

United States

#15 Jun 11, 2011
This is just me and everyone is different. My stomach puffs up like a balloon. Mine isn't painfull till it is swollen. I'll start the clear liquid diet for 2 or 3 days and if it gets painful I will take 3 aspirin or 3 Ibuprofen. When I start eating low fiber foods, I always eat a meal the size of a 1/2 sandwich and I always go by what the Mayo Clinic recommends for a Diverticulitis diet as that is the diet that saved me.
Anne

Mississauga, Canada

#16 Jun 11, 2011
GaryMW wrote:
At least my doctor recommended the liquid diet during the attack. I don't know what I am having right now but I've taken it upon myself to put myself on a liquid diet until I see where this goes. I have eaten nothing today at all, just water, juice. Thinking about having a Boost in a little bit,
Hi Gary

You mention you are on a liquid diet. FYI - the liquid should be clear and not have any milk or cream in it so not sure what type of Boost you are using but if it is the regular one it might not be good to drink it right now.

The items allowed (from the Mayo Clinic diverticulitis diet) are:

Broth, Clear soda, Fruit juices without pulp, Ice chips, Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp, Plain gelatin, Plain water, Tea or coffee without cream.

Boost does make a clear fruit juice in a tetra pak for clear fluid diets as it is what I use whenever I get a flare up. I have found it at Wal Mart and Rexall or Pharma Plus stores. Shoppers Drug Mart here don't seem to carry it at all. Hope you feel better soon.
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#17 Jun 11, 2011
Thanks to you both for replying. I don't know what I would do if I hadn't of discovered this place. Thank god for the internet! At the same time, hearing term like resection surgery and colostomy bag are really scary. I am absolutely terrified at the prospect of surgery.

Ok, so no Boost for a few days :) I'll keep it clear and simple although I am soo hungry right now.

There is some valuable information I am taking away from all this. The first thing I did wrong is too much insoluble fibre too fast. it seems the doctors really don't say when your supposed to start adding fibre, or going off the bland, low res diet.

This time around I will do it right. Clear liquids for a few days, then other liquids like Boost and soft foods like yogurt and applesauce for a few more. Then a low , bland diet for a few weeks, slowly adding a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre. I'm also going to cut down the size of the meals I have and eat smaller amounts more frequently.

Does this sound like a good approach?
Anne

Mississauga, Canada

#18 Jun 11, 2011
GaryMW wrote:
Thanks to you both for replying. I don't know what I would do if I hadn't of discovered this place. Thank god for the internet! At the same time, hearing term like resection surgery and colostomy bag are really scary. I am absolutely terrified at the prospect of surgery.
Ok, so no Boost for a few days :) I'll keep it clear and simple although I am soo hungry right now.
There is some valuable information I am taking away from all this. The first thing I did wrong is too much insoluble fibre too fast. it seems the doctors really don't say when your supposed to start adding fibre, or going off the bland, low res diet.
This time around I will do it right. Clear liquids for a few days, then other liquids like Boost and soft foods like yogurt and applesauce for a few more. Then a low , bland diet for a few weeks, slowly adding a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre. I'm also going to cut down the size of the meals I have and eat smaller amounts more frequently.
Does this sound like a good approach?
Hi Gary,

Sounds good. I don't think you need to worry much about surgery or colostomy at this early stage. You have to have severe diverticulosis and have had several major attacks before they consider that. Some people only ever have one attack and until you have either a CT scan or a colonoscopy to confirm that you have any diverticulae, you don't want to worry yourself as stress is one of the biggest triggers. Try to take probiotics every day even when you are feeling better to keep your system regular. I stay away from seeds, corn, popcorn and especially nuts as they are indigestible (nuts are what caused my last attack). Some people don't agree with doing that but I would rather be safe than sorry. I went 4 years between my first and second attack. Try not to worry about something that might never happen. Take care and good luck with the diet!
GaryMW

Halifax, Canada

#19 Jun 11, 2011
Thanks again Anne.

I am erring on the side of caution and I am cutting out anything that may even hint at a problem, including red meat.

Hopefully this will pass with out a round of antibiotics so soon after the last. I need to make sure I work on my stress level because it is a real problem with me. I worry myself to death over things sometimes and this isn't helping LOL.

I'll update this tomorrow. Maybe someone else can benefit from how I deal with mine and the advise I've been given.
Anne

Mississauga, Canada

#20 Jun 11, 2011
GaryMW wrote:
Thanks again Anne.
I am erring on the side of caution and I am cutting out anything that may even hint at a problem, including red meat.
Hopefully this will pass with out a round of antibiotics so soon after the last. I need to make sure I work on my stress level because it is a real problem with me. I worry myself to death over things sometimes and this isn't helping LOL.
I'll update this tomorrow. Maybe someone else can benefit from how I deal with mine and the advise I've been given.
Sounds like you are on the right track Gary. I also cut out red meat and even wheat, dairy and sugar. You probably don't need to go that far but I wanted to cut out anything that might cause inflammation. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.

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