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Diverticulitis Diagnosis

Diverticulitis Diagnosis
Causes and Risk Factors

Diverticular disease can be diagnosed and treated by emergency room doctors, general practitioners, nurse practitioners or other primary care providers. Proper diagnosis may also require seeing a gastroenterologist, a specialist in digestive system health.

Medical history
Information is key to diagnosing diverticulitis, and the doctor will try to get as much from as possible. Keep this in mind when preparing for an appointment. Try to give as complete a picture as possible. Record any symptoms experienced prior to the appointment. The doctor may ask the person to make some dietary adjustments before seeing them. During the consult, the physician may ask the following:

  • Do you have a fever?
  • Do you take any over-the-counter fiber supplements?
  • Have you ever had a colonoscopy?
  • Have you had a vaginal discharge or passed stool through the vagina?
  • Have you had any pain with urination or passing air in your urine?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
  • How much exercise do you get during a week?
  • How much fiber do you usually eat per day?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?

Medical exams
Diverticula are not always problematic, often going unnoticed until revealed by other tests like colorectal screenings. This is why diverticulitis is often diagnosed during a severe attack. Since abdominal pain is not unique to diverticulitis, the doctor will try to rule out its other possible causes such as: 

  • appendicitis
  • colon cancer
  • extra tubal pregnancy
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ischemic colitis
  • ovarian cancer
  • miscarriage
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • torsion of the ovary

To accurately diagnose the root of abdominal pain, the doctor may utilize the following tests:

Abdominal ultrasound - Sound waves passed through the abdomen echo off the colon and other parts of the digestive system, creating electrical impulses. These are then translated into a video representation that can display inflamed diverticula.

Blood tests - The doctor will have your blood sample examined for white cell blood counts that may indicate the presence of infection.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan - This noninvasive scan can produce cross-section images of the body. During a CT scan, you lie on a table that slides into a circular portal that surrounds the body. The doctor may introduce a dye orally or via injection that can better show perforations and abscesses of the diverticula during the scan.

Doctors prescribe treatment based on the severity of symptoms and the possible presence of infection. It’s not unusual to be placed on a liquid diet until symptoms subside. But what other treatment options are available? Continue reading for more information on how to treat diverticulitis using diverticulitis diets here.

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Tags: diverticulitis, abdominal ultrasound, gastroenterologist, vaginal discharge, treatment options, abdominal pain, appendicitis, adjustments, blood tests, ultrasound, treatment, injection, discharge, diagnosis, Pregnancy, infection, abscesses, Exercise, symptoms, Colitis
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