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Diverticulitis Symptoms

Diverticulitis Symptoms
Causes and Risk Factors

Symptoms of diverticulitis
Diverticulitis attacks can happen swiftly with no warning. While gas pressure, mild abdominal pain and bloating may not directly indicate diverticulitis, symptoms should be monitored closely to see if they progress and worsen.

Mild diverticular disease may cause diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. In more severe forms, a person will experience a combination of fever, left or right-sided abdominal pain, and elevated white blood cell count as the body attempts to fight off infection. Diverticulitis is also characterized by pain that's often sudden, severe, and located in the lower left side of the abdomen. Less commonly, abdominal pain may be mild at first, and become worse over several days, possibly fluctuating in intensity.  If diverticulitis occurs, the following symptoms may appear:

  • abdomen is hard to the touch
  • abdominal tenderness or pain
  • bleeding from the rectum
  • bloating
  • changes in bowel habits
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting

While diverticulitis can get in the way of the detection of colorectal cancer, there does not seem to be a direct link between the two. A doctor may have to wait for diverticulitis to subside before performing cancer detection tests such as colonoscopy (examination of the colon and rectum utilizing a camera attached to a thin flexible tube). However, diverticulitis can lead to colon disease, creating abscesses, fistula, or even perforations that need surgical repair or removal. Diverticulitis can progress with dangerous complications, including:

Abscess - During an abscess, pus collects in diverticula pouches.

Blockage of the intestine or colon - This condition may be due to scarring caused by diverticulitis.

Fistulas - Abnormal passages that form, connecting the intestinal walls to other areas, sometimes to the bladder, vagina, or abdominal wall.

Peritonitis - Ruptured diverticula rupture cause the contents of the intestine leak into the abdominal cavity.

Rectal bleeding

When to seek help
Although diverticulitis is quite manageable in its milder stages, symptoms should never be ignored, as the complications from it can be life threatening. In fact, chronic symptoms indicate severity that needs to be addressed by a physician. If you experience sudden and painful symptoms, visit the emergency room immediately. Likewise, bleeding from the anus may signify that diverticula have burst. People experiencing this can go into shock and require emergency treatment. Other signs of concern include:

  • abdominal swelling
  • abnormal vaginal discharge
  • blood in the stool (reddish or maroon liquid, clots, mostly blood)
  • black, tar-like stool
  • bleeding from the anus
  • burning pain while urinating
  • cramping pain that is unaffected by bowel movement or passing of gas
  • fever and chills
  • nausea and vomiting
  • passing gas or fecal matter through the urine
  • pain that increases with movement
  • pain in the abdomen that increases with movement or coughing
  • severe and progressing abdominal pain
  • shock
  • shoulder pain (possibly indicating a perforation of the intestine)
  • unusual changes in bowel movement

It's important to diagnose and treat symptoms of diverticulitis when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing more serious problems of the digestive tract. But how do doctors diagnose diverticulitis? What tests do they use and what can you expect from an office visit? To learn more about how to diagnose diverticular diseases and how doctors know what is diverticulitis, click here.

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Tags: diverticulitis, abdominal pain and bloating, vaginal discharge, abdominal cavity, abdominal wall, abdominal pain, complications, infection, discharge, intestine, treatment, abscesses, symptoms, vomiting, Diseases, swelling, Diarrhea, coughing, abdomen, bladder
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