Explain "severe"

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Hello everyone.  Just got the results of my abdomen CT with contrast and was told I have severe diverticulosis.  I I need to understand what the heck they meant by "severe"?  does this mean it is about to burst, or become infected?  

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  • Posted

    Hi Elizabeth

    Without knowing the symptoms you experienced and the treatment you are receiving, it is difficult to say with accuracy.  When I was told I had severe Diverticular DIsease (DD), in my case it meant I had a lot of diverticula spread throughout my colon.  Originally many years ago I was told moderate DD, which meant I had a few diverticula.  So in your case I would guess you have a lot of diverticula. 

    Over half the population over 50 have them, indeed some are even born with them, and in the vast majority of cases never have any symptoms, never even know.  They often only find out when tested for something entirely different.  So a diagnosis of Diverticulosis means you have diverticula.  The appendix is a sort of diverticulum - you are born with it, and most people die with it still in place. 

    However for some people, there are symptoms, such as pain, fever, altered bowel movements.  These are the people who develop inflammation and infection, and is known as Diverticulitis.  For inflammation, the usual treatment is a liquid diet, painkillers, warmth, then a low residue diet, building up to a high soluble fibre diet.  For infection, the usual treatment is antibiotics plus the treatment for inflammation.  An infection is nasty, as are the antibiotics, and can leave you feeling ill for weeks or even months.  For those in the USA surgery is often recommended as a preventative measure after an attack, but not in the UK, where management is by diet and lifestyle changes.

    Prevention is better than cure, and I favour the diet and lifestyle method.  That involves eating a healthy diet with plenty of soluble fibre, small meals, well cooked, chewed thoroughly.  Losing weight if necessary, exercise.  In fact what all doctors say about everything!!!  Some people with this condition find certain foods aggravate them.  These can be identified with a food diary, and then can be avoided.  There are loads of posts on here about diet - try DiviDiners.

    But the most important thing to know is that complications are RARE.  Yes people do get ruptures, abscesses, fistulas, blockages, and these need emergency surgery - just like some people get appendicitis or peritonitis.  The forum will be biased towards people who have problems, as well as those seeking information, as people with no problems do not seek help!! 

    I was diagnosed in 2001 and since then have had just 6 flare ups of diverticulitis.  In between I lead a healthy active life, and normally trigger the diverticulitis by eating the wrong food - in my case gluten and full fat.  I pass on my experiences to those seeking information.

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  • Posted

    I was  diagnosed with extensive diverticulosis in May 17, the report read diverticula on both side of colon. I am trying to keep a high fibre diet, sometimes take fybogel  to help my constipation, but I get terrible wind, my insides making all kinds of noises as drink or food digests. It can be very uncomfortable sometimes. I would appreciate any views as to how  to deal with the issues that comes with the condition. Thanks M
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    • Posted

      Hi Mags

      One of the tricky things when newly diagnosed is getting the right balance and right type of fibre (soluble).  I have read posts of some people going overboard and eating a lot of fibre, including lots of insoluble, resulting in pains and passing wind for England!!  One lady found she was better when she switched from All-Bran (which is very harsh on the insides) to Bran Flakes. 

      I get the bulk of my fibre from well cooked vegetables, including a lot of home made soup.  I also have EITHER 1 slice wholemeal bread OR 40 gm proper porridge oats each day.  Some people have found they start off with eating too much fibre which they are not used to, and have to reduce until they find the right amount for themselves. 

      Fybogel either suits you or it doesn't.  I take it religiously every morning, and if I feel a bit constipated, have another one in the evening.  It keeps the stools soft, and bulks them out by absorbing water (hence the need to drink plenty).  They are easier to pass and helps clear out your inner workings!

      My regime keeps me at around 4 on the Bristol Stool Scale most of the time, but I can vary between 1 and 3 when I don't have enough Fybogel, and 5 or 6 when I eat the wrong things.

      When uncomfortable I drink peppermint tea.  My friend swears by ginger tea.  And when I overeat, my tummy gurgles away.  Also sometimes when you drink a lot but don't eat enough you can gurgle and rumble.  Hope this has given you some pointers - as with everything associated with DD, you have to find what works for you.

       [url=https://patient.info/forums/discuss/explain-severe--641125#]Reply to mags 123

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply,getting the right balance seems to be the way forward. I have 4 small pieces of wholemeal bread a day plus 2/3 pieces of fruit per day. I do check fibre content on food I buy, I wonder if I am having too much fibre. I have read if you take fybogel you need to drink plenty of water as it can have the reverse effect and  make you constipated instead of relieving it. I Cant seem to get a happy balance and find I have difficulty passing stools having to strain which is not helpful with the Diverticulosis. I also have a warm/burning sensation in my left lower side....is this another thing which happens with diverticulosis. Thanks  M
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    • Posted

      Hi Mags

      I have either one medium slice from a large wholemeal loaf, OR 2 medium slices from a 400gm wholemeal loaf.  Do you remove the skins from your fruit, as they are classes as insoluble fibre (although great for you if you don't have DD)?  You don't mention vegetables at all - you should still be aiming for a minimum of 5 veg/fruit a day (not counting potato).  With Fybogel it should be mixed with 12 fl oz water and chugged down immediately before it thickens.  It's supposed to do that and start working in your gut, not the glass or your oesophegus.  And have at least 6 half pint mugs of fluid a day.  The warm burning sensation, or a stinging feeling is common.  I think, but am not sure, that means irritation or inflammation.

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  • Posted

    Hi Elizabeth

    Take note of what Felina says she is so right about DD and through her posts I have been reassured so many times

    Try not to let DD scare you too much .l was diagnosed in 2013 and have only had 3 flare ups but everyone is different . Best wishes

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  • Posted

    I means you have several pockets. Diverticulitis is when those pockets become infected.  Some people never become infected. So watch your diet plenty of fiber and water. Avoid constipation at all costs. That advice is for maintenance only! If you have  the infection instructions would be different. Good luck
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