Blase about diverticulitis and now suffering

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I was diagnosed with DD 4 yrs ago. It started whilst Ivwas on holiday in Florida with cramps (not only on left side) then mucus in feaces and then passed a clot of blood. That frightened me and went to ER. They were not sure of the problem but as the pain had gone after passing the clot (I don't know why) they advised me to see my GP when I got back to the UK. I had a colonoscopy which showed DD which had healed by itself no polyps were found and biopsy clear. On follow up he advised to just carry on with same diet ( and rightly or wrongly I have) and not to worry or fuss about seeds,nuts etc. I have had 2 flare ups (bloody mucus etc) in the past 4 years. Today I have had pain whilst straining to go to toilet and my poo has been stringy and mucusy (sorry for description) there may have been slight blood but not sure as I am a panicked! I am assuming this is a flare up and nothing else so am going on a liquid diet to see how it goes. As I am not a youngster I am worried it could be something else like cancer. How long does that take to develop? I do find these forums helpful so any advice would be appreciated.

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  • Posted

    Hi Angela

    I do understand your concerns.  Last year after a flare up, followed by antibiotics, my pain did not go.  So I went back to my GP and explained my fears, as I had lost a mother and brother to cancer.  I also remembered the well known celebrity who died of the disease.  The previous year I had taken part in the bowel cancer test by post, and it too had been clear.  Because of my age I was referred under the 2 week cancer protocol for a colonoscopy then a CT scan, although the GP told me that, having had a clear the bowel test, it was very unlikely to be anything other then diverticular disease.  All was clear, apart from severe diverticular disease, which greatly relieved my mind.  

    So I would advise you to go back to your GP and explain your symptoms and worries.  You might need some antibiotics.  My understanding, and I am not a medical person, is that bowel cancer takes time to develop, and the blood in the stools is usually dark and difficult to see.  If you have had the bowel test by post, that might help ease your mind a bit.  Frank red blood is more likely to be a little tear from straining, haemmorhoids or a polyp.  But again I think you need to get it checked.

    As you have had more flares since you were diagnosed, I suggest you might like to look at your diet.  There might be some things which are triggering your flares.  Most of us on this forum have something.  I can eat nuts and seeds etc, but I can't eat wheat, gluten or full fat.  If I do, I usually get niggles the following day.  Others have to avoid red meat, dairy - all sorts of things.  A food diary would help.  We are all different, so you have to find your own solution by trial and error.

    If you find you suffer from constipation and are straining, you should consider asking for a prescription for Fybogel which you should get free if you are over 60.  It is the usual prescription for diverticular disease, and softens and bulks the stool to make them easier to pass without straining.  It is also made from a natural substance psyllium husk and I have taken it daily for 16 years, so is considered safe for long term use.  It does make you go more frequently, but keeps the bowels clear.  It takes a couple of weeks to start working - a gentle procedure not like the "bombs" that most laxatives are.

    DD is a disease for life, but it can be managed with a bit of discipline.  Better that than flares and antibiotics.  We have all found that GP's usually do not have the in-depth understanding of the disease that sufferers have!  In fact my GP remarked about my knowledge of the condition and asked if I had medical training.  No, I said, just bitter experience!  I hope you feel better soon and get the reassurance you need.

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    • Posted

      Hi felina,

      Thank you for your reply.I spoke to the Dr thismorning and he has just put me on a bland diet and it does feel easier. Yes I do the bowel tests that come through the post and have never had a problem.As I have not had a flare up for a long time I must admit I had got rather blase about my diet and really eating anything I fancied. I had a corn on the cob at the weekend and I wonder if it was that.I will take your advice about the Fybogel and like you I seem to know a lot more about DD than the Drs do!! Thank you again and I do feel more reassured.

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    • Posted

      Hi Angela

      Glad you feel reassured.  And yes, the corn cob could be the culprit, as some people have reported they can't take it.  I love them but restrict myself to maybe a couple a year.  Once you feel better you can try re-introducing various foods, and keep a record of how they affect you.  Hopefully the "bad" list will be very short. 

      Interesting that most people on this forum admit to being a worrier - me included.  I am also finding that losing weight is helping me - I feel less bloated.  The food has not changed as I was following a diet suitable for DD, but I have greatly reduced my portion sizes and increased my chewing time. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you Felinia,

      Yes I am the worlds worst over thinker!! I need to lose about a stone so I am going to concentrate on that and also follow your advice and keep a good diary. Many thanks

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    • Posted

      What you mean is a good food diary!!! lol  I'm trying to lose 5 stone myself - Slimming World tonight.  Funnily enough the discipline and healthy eating does seem to help.

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  • Posted

    You need to get in touch with your DR and speak to him you may need antibiotics you can't be to carful. I had a polyp taken out last year was told it was really small I don't have to go back for 5 years Tell your DR your concern if he is any good he will sort out what you need. Hope you feel better soon and get sorted out

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    • Posted

      A colonoscopy and biopsy of a polyp is diagnostic for colon cancer, if that was negative the blood could be from several different sources, a Gastroenterologist, (GI) doctor is who you need to see, I wouldn't wait to start on the antibiotic, I would be concerned about my colon rupturing, don't wait!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you Susan for your reply.I spoke to the Dr and he has put me on the usual bland diet and the pain is easing.So I am seeing how it goes! I had a colonoscopy 4 yrs ago no polyps were found and biopsy was fine but knowing the worrier I am I always overthink that it could be something else!! Thank you again.
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