Can I have diverticulitis with no pain?

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I was diagnosed with "probably" having diverticulitis last September following a colonoscopy. My only symptom was rectal bleeding, clots and mucous. After  two courses of antibiotics, symptom went away, but has now returned, though not as severe. All the discussions seem to indicate that diverticulitis always causes pain....which makes me wonder if there is a different problem. And no, I am not a stoic, it it hurt, I'd know it.

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  • Posted

    My guess is, when they did the colonoscopy, they found diverticula, hence you have Diverticulosis (as does half the western world over 50).  This just means you have diverticula in your colon.  Most people never know they have them, as they have no symptoms.  You had some of the symptoms of Diverticulitis, hence the "probably" and were treated for it to be on the safe side.  The good thing is that you had a colonoscopy, which would have shown up anything else more worrying. 

    My hospital sent me a very comprehensive leaflet after my colonoscopy and CT Scan explaining all about Diverticulosis, Diverticulitis, and Diverticular Disease.  You should have received one, but if not several NHS Trusts have published theirs on the Internet.

    Rectal bleeding can also be caused by an anal tear (do you have to strain?), polyps or intestinal infections.  I understand if a colonoscopy shows polyps, they are usually removed there and then.  Once you have diverticula you have them for life and you can get recurrent symptoms.  I suggest you return to your doctor to see if there are any signs of infection, to be on the safe side.  One obvious question might simply be "how can it be Diverticulitis if I don't have any pain/temperature?"  Another is "Is my bowel otherwise normal, or do I have an abnormal thickened bowel?"  This would have been seen on the colonoscopy and is a sign of Diverticular Disease, along with Diverticula.  If they use the word "idiopathic", I think it means "of unknown cause" or "I don't know"!!!

    I also suggest, if you are not already doing so, you keep a food diary to see if you can find if the symptoms appear after certain foods.  I get problems after gluten and full fat - others can't take nuts, seeds, popcorn, dairy, red meat etc.  We are all different and it's a case of trial and error.

    My Consultant described the condition as benign - not the word I would have used - but it was meant in the sense of cancer free.  Best wishes

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much for your reply. I also have a prolapsed rectum, and take Metamucil and stool softeners to ease that problem. Even with that, there is some straining involved with bowel movements at times.

      I have quit coffie (which does cause pain), tea, alcohol, almost all chocolate, nuts, and seeds since the start of this second round to try to contain it by diet, and will now start a formal food diary.

      I see people refer to a "flare up," which sounds like a problem which starts suddenly and is quite obvious even from the start. On the other hand, my first episode was gradual, a little maroon blood/bloody mucous/clots, then more over time until it was apparent that there was a problem I should quit ignoring...something I tend to do when no pain is involved.I am at the gradually increasing stage of this second episode. Is this gradual easing into the problem usual?

      I appreciate your suggestions about further reading and questions to ask my gastroenterologist.

       

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    • Posted

      I must admit what you are describing is new to me, although in hindsight, I did have have a dull ache which slowly worstened over several days before I realised I needed more antibiotics.  Like you I stopped taking caffeine and just have decaf tea and water now.  I wonder if your prolapse could in some way be linked - something to ask your gastroenterologist.  Best wishes.
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  • Posted

    I never had pain but had three big bleeds. I was diagnosed with complicated diverticular disease rather than diverticulitis. I eventually had a sigmoid colon resection after a major bleed.
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  • Posted

    I agree with kittypusskins - it does sound just like Diverticular Disease, which is where the bowel muscle does not work properly and is thickened and distorted.  I too have the full blown Diverticular Disease and in fact have just had an episode similar to what you described.  However, I also get swamping colonic pain, which is more like birth pains than the stabbing pain of Diverticulitis, plus constipation and diarrhoea.  With this passing mucus is also common.  I also get flares of Diverticulitis - 5 in 16 years.  I hope you get answers.
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