2nd round of Diverticulitis!!

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Okay, I posted yesterday about possible flare up. Gastro’s Physician Assistant recommend I go to ER to another scan to make I don’t have abscess. CT with contrast done - confirmed Diverticulitis. First diagnosis was February 1, 2018.  I had colonoscopy three years ago and one polyp was removed, but yet my mind always goes to cancer! Anyone else have episodes this close together? And since I had colonoscopy three years ago, should I be worried?

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  • Posted

    Yes I had 3 flares in 3 months, although previously I had gone years between flares.  I suspect I was not given enough antibiotics first time round to clear it, and the infection never completely went.  Once before I had needed 2 courses to shift the infection.  Of course everyone thinks of the big C.  But my understanding is that it usually takes longer than 3 years to develop cancer and you were clear then.  If there were any concerns this time you would have been referred for another (expensive USA) colonoscopy.
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    • Posted

      Thank you!! I knew for sure most gastros recommend 10 years between colonoscopies, but I get one every five because my grandmother had colon cancer. So, it’s only been three years since my last one and like I said there was one polyp which was removed. I too think I probably should have been on antibiotics for 14 days instead of 10. Okay, so can we live a totally normal life with Diverticulitis? 
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    • Posted

      Hi Teresa

      Over half the people over 50 have Diverticulosis, some are even born with it, and never know until examined for something else.  I sometimes wonder if the practice in the USA of giving everyone a regular well-person colonoscopy, whilst great for picking up early cancers and lining medical personnel's pockets, creates fear, distress and uncertainty when they are told they have Diverticulosis with very little other information.  I do understand your need, with a family history though.  I prefer the UK method of 2 yearly testing of faeces, with colonoscopy only if blood is found in the stool or other symptoms present.  It is far less invasive and distressing.

      Diverticulosis is the condition where people have diverticula in their colon and is usually symptom free.  Diverticulitis is when the diverticula become inflamed or infected.  Diverticular Disease encompasses both conditions plus people like me with a thickened, tortuous, narrow colon.

      You can live a totally normal life with Diverticular Disease provided you are careful with your diet and lifestyle.  I have done so since 2001.  It just means eating a sensible, healthy, high soluble fibre diet, small portions, well cooked, thoroughly chewed, plus lose weight, take exercise.  In fact everything all doctors tell their patients to do anyway.  The only additions after you have had Diverticulitis is to avoid foods that trigger symptoms, and make sure your bowels are emptied regularly without straining.  This usually means keeping a food diary to find out what foods if any to avoid, and taking a daily stool softener.  My triggers are gluten, full fat and I have taken Fybogel for 17 years.

      But everyone is different, what suits one does not suit another, and we each find our own way by trial and error.  That is why doctors appear so useless in giving information - there is no definitive set of rules.  Incidentally the normal UK practice is only 5 days antibiotics at home, not in hospital at all unless absolutely necessary.  Medication is being cut back due to fear of antibiotic resistance (and, I suspect, cost).  So I am not surprised my infection did not clear with just one course.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for being so encouraging! I feel so much better this morning (no pain) now I’m waiting for Gastroenterological doc to call and give me directions for next few weeks as to what to eat. My husband gets so frustrated with our American doctors - he says they only want to line their pockets. They do seem to order test after test - most of the time not necessary. I am going to ask if I can take something other than the Cipro and Flagyl.  That stuff makes me so sick and I hate the side effects!  Have a blessed day! I’m sure I’ll be back for more advice. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Teresa

      Yes I'm sure your doctors do want to line their pockets a lot of the time, but also I suspect they are scared of missing something and getting sued!  A classic case of cracking a peanut with a sledgehammer!

      I've checked out my medication. I used to be prescribed Cefalexin (5 days) and Metronidazole (7 days) (which you call Flagyl), but my GP has stopped prescribing Cefalexin, over fears of developing antibiotic resistance.  He now prescribes Doxycycline (7 days).  I have heard that other doctors prescribe Augmentin.  It depends on what if anything you are allergic to.  Some people develop horrific long term side effects from Flagyl and Cipro, so where possible I try to avoid developing a flare and needing pills in the first place. 

      My doctor will also only prescribe if there is clear evidence of infection, not just inflammation.  But I know some will prescribe at the first sign of a twinge, and so many people mix up the niggles you get with healing, with the pain of a developing infection.  I used to myself, but now I've learned 48 hours on liquid only, to see if everything settles first.

      Your diet will be trial and error, to see what suits you and what doesn't.  For the next few weeks you should follow a low residue diet and slowly introduce soluble fibre in small portions, building up over time.  Try DiviDiners or Google low residue and soluble fibre.  Most people find there are some foods which upset them, but that varies from person to person - trial and error.  Some people become terrified of eating almost everything, lose weight (which worries them even more) and then take a long time to regain their confidence.  Unfortunately some unlucky people really do seem to find most foods and even drinks affect them, particularly if they have other medical conditions as well.

      It is good that you are pain free today.  You might find you have some days with niggles, and the side effects from the pills can last even after you've finished the course.  Best wishes

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  • Posted

    Hi Teresa,

        I had my first episode 6/2016. I was put on 10d of antibiotics . Then off for 10d back to the ER with diverticulitis! Another 10d of antibiotics. This Jan had another attack, 10d of antibiotics off 5d, and back to the ER with diverticulitis! Another 14 d of antibiotics! So sick from the antibiotics! It has been 2 weeks since stopping meds and just now have an appetite. Gradually adding fiber ,still have  occ pain. I had the Cancer discussion with the GI doc. He assured me after 3 CT scans I do not have cancer. Also colonoscopy was 12/2016 and clean. I’m sure your doc will want another colonoscopy after you are healed. Good luck ,definitely a journey!

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