Digestion difficulties after episode

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Last week I hadn't some kind of a mild bacterial infection in my bowels.  The doctor said it was either my appendix or diverticulitis.   I Was put on a clear liquid diet and things got much better after a bit (WBC back in normal range, pain faded, chills went away, the crazy tiredness lifted, passed a lump of what looked like pus, and a few days later I started getting an appetite).  All good news.

the trouble is that after my liquid diet my body seems to have forgotten how to digest food.  Everything was fine while I was feeling ill, but trying to shift back to more normal food didn't work.  Broth, rice, and applesauce were all fine.  I think the yogurt was ok too. I tried some low fiber veggies (spinach) and I had weird horrible diarrhea. I backed off and then ended up constipated.  I tried some new foods yesterday and it happened again.  I think it was a grapefruit that did me in this time.

I still don't have much of an appetite but I do have one now.  Eating maybe half the calories I used to, and that takes effort.

is this normal?  Any advice on how to deal with this?  Maybe I am just rushing things?  My GP (many days ago) told me to shift back to my old diet over the next few days but it just isn't working.  I would appreciate any help you can give me.

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26 Replies

  • Posted

    *had* some kind of infection, not hadn't.  Autocorrect certainly makes things difficult sometimes.

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  • Posted

    Dorry ,

    Did they do blood work to decide you actually had an infection ? Was you put on antibiotics? Did they tell you what your white blood cell count was the first time they took it? Are you saying you passed the ball of infection through s bowl movement? Have you had the Ct scan to see if you actually have Diverticulitis?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply, crosado.

      Yes, they did blood work and my WBC were elevated, neutrophils high which I understand means bacteria not virus.  They did not give me antibiotics. 

      I did see a marble sized sized, opaque, pale yellow lump in an otherwise homogenous bowel movement (only eating broth and rice and applesauce then).  I was guessing it was pus but I didn't collect a sample for the lab or anything so it is just a guess.  It did not look like mucus to me.

      I have not had any kind of formal diagnosis.  I did have an Ultrasound  the day after my 1st blood test to look at my organs and to look for my appendix.  It was normal and my appendix couldn't be seen.  They did not look at my intestines.  After the ultrasound, bloodwork, and another exam (day 3 of doctor visits) I was told it was diverticulitis or my appendix and more blood work was ordered.  That test showed that my WBC dropped to normal and my GP said no followup was needed unless/until it happened again.  They did not order a CT scan or colonoscopy.  

      I kind of thought it was my appendix (mild) but i don't think there is enough information right now to say more than that it was either my appendix or diverticulitis. I'm sorry if that makes my question here inappropriate, but I am kind of in limbo.

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  • Posted

    Liquids for a few days then low fiber for a few more and gradually phase in your normal diet. These were the instructions from my doctor for diverticulitis
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    • Posted

      Thank you Linda.  That sounds consistent with everything I have read online.  How long did it take you to be able to eat more than really simple foods? It's been a full week since I started feeling noticibly better and any attempt at vegetables or fresh fruit have failed.

      I tried spinach as I saw it listed as a part of a low fiber diet, but it didn't work at all.   Is it normal to have horrible diarrhea when eat something too soon?

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    • Posted

      You need a CT scan to confirm diverticulitis. Today I am in week 4. It takes several weeks to recover and contrary to comments I have read here you cannot introduce fiber back into your system until you are healed,  the colon is too sensitive. I learned the hard way and stated eating normally 2 weeks ago and now am constipated and  in pain. My doctor told me back to the low fiber for a while and I have to have a follow-up CT scan this week. Recommend only vegetables cooked and soft, no brocolli, brussell sprouts, etc. No fresh fruits with skin, very hard on the colon. No red meat. It takes weeks for your system to recover and get abck to norma. Be patient. Hope you are better soon.
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    • Posted

      Thank you Linda, it's good to know that it is normal for recovery to take a long time.  Is diarrhea also a normal reaction to eating foods that aren't allowed?  Fwiw psyllium husk (straight fiber) and oatmeal (helpful even) were fine but spinach (cooked) and grapefruit were awful.  Does that sound different than diverticulosis?

      I know I do not have a diagnosis (just a shortlist of likely candidates)  but because my WBC dropped, they don't feel the radiation of the CT scan is justified right now.  Part of the reason I want to know if this is normal for diverticulosis is that, if it is not, then it may be something with my appendix and If it is I may need to do something different to make sure I stay healthy and ok.

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    • Posted

      I don't know, diarrhea can be from anything, food, medication (mine was). Personally if it was me I would insist on the CT Scan, you need a diagnosis to move forward and a bad appendix is very dangerous. You could be putting yourself through all this for no reason if it's not diverticulosis. Curious, where do you live? Different countries handle medical issues differently it seems.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the help, Linda!

       I am in the US so that might be it, but CT scans have a lot of radiation so I think they try not to do them if possible.  I am in my early 40s and I don't know if that makes them more reluctant. I have been referred to a gastro and I think that is who I need to ask about a CT.  The referring doctor (not my normal GP) said she was sending me to get a colonoscopy but she didn't really listen to me and rushed through the appointment.  I didn't realize that a colonoscopy was not ok for diverticulits so I will make sure I talk to a gastro first before I let them do anything to me.  I wont let them just book me for a colonoscopy.

      I will be careful about my appendix.  I'm not sure I can do much, but if the pain comes back I will go to the ER and not mess around.

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    • Posted

      I was told I had to wait 6 weeks for the colonoscopy because the colon needs to heal first after a diverticulis episode.
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    • Posted

      My gastro told me the same thing except she said 6 to 8 wks because anything before that could cause you to be damaged by either bursting a pockets thats infected and other deamage. 
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  • Posted

    I just wanted to post an update.  Finally got to a GI specialist and they didn't think it was diverticulitis and thought it was safe to have a colonoscopy.  I had it and I do not have any diverticula.  I am still having symptoms and I don't know what is going on, but no diverticula.

    thank you for all of your help - I really appreciated it.

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    • Posted

      Dorry, did you have a Ct Scan and they thought the ct scan showed Diverticulisis? Or did you ever have the CT Scan?
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    • Posted

      Still no CT scan and they haven't mentioned one.   My GP thought it might be diverticulitis (or something else) when she saw me 4 days in, when the symptoms were pain and loss of appetite loss followed by tiredness and a low fever.  I wasn't having digestive problems yet.  the GI person who I saw 3 weeks in was very confident that it wasn't diverticulitis and and thought it was safe to have the colonoscopy.  I did bring up the safety concerns.

      i don't know what testing they can do now, but I would think that with food not  getting digested, that they would need to look at my small intestine.  I think the tests that do that are an upper endoscopy and the pill camera that you swallow.  They did see and biopsy some of my small intestine during the colonoscopy.

      thanks for your concern, crosado.  I appreciate it.

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    • Posted

      I had it yesterday so I know what they saw, but do not have the biopsy results.  I do not have any diverticula and it didn't look like I have IBD.  No diagnosis and nothing to explain my symptoms at this point.  

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    • Posted

      well thats great news!  Did they put you to sleep? I have one scheduled March 22. That bowel prep they give you to take the night before was it rough?
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    • Posted

      The bowel prep they gave me tasted foul and I had to drink a gallon of it.  The next time I have to do one, I am going to ask for the Gatorade prep.
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    • Posted

      I'm getting my 3rd colonoscopy end of March, I think it helps a lot eating a liquid diet for a couple of days before. Here they put you to sleep. My results of my follow-up CT scan showed the diverticulitis has cleared up but also I have multiple diverticula, that made me very nervous and will probably raise the chances of me having flare-ups. Great news that you don't have any.

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    • Posted

      Linda, do  you still get cramping any pain some days? Why a 3rd colonoscopy I was told you only need one ever 10 years.
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    • Posted

      I may get a mild discomfort now and then but bowels are not back to 100% yet. Previous colonoscopy not related to diverticulitis. This upcoming one is to rule out anything else going on  but I was also due for one. I have to have them every 3 years due to previous polyps found 3 years ago.
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    • Posted

      Okay I understand now . So even though they remove the polyps they still need to check every 3 years . Can you share some foods that you eat that doesn't cause issues I know everyone is different but still might help .

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    • Posted

      Nothing that I know of ever caused me an issue but since the diverticulitis I am staying away from insoluble foods like nuts, whole seeds, corn even though my doctor said they don't believe that's necessary anymore due to recent research. I'm drinking more water also.

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