How long does diverticulitis last?

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Hi, I’m 39 male, was diagnosed with acute uncomplicated sigmoid diverticulitis on a CT scan 12 days ago. Pain has been ongoing on and off for 2 weeks. I was given 5 days of flagyl and keflex. I’m a little overweight (not much atall really) and fairly active with sports and exercise 2-4 days a week. After first course of pills, I was better than originally but the pain eventually came back. I had to go back to hospital and doctor this week after constipation, diharrea and then a little blood in the stool one day. Many days off work. 

They prescribed me another round of pills this time, 7 days. The doctor suspected the 5 day course was too short. Is this normal? Should I even ask for longer than 7 days?

I’m so scared because my real fear is, does this EVER go away or is there a possibility I’m stuck with it unless I get surgery. I’m hoping I will end up as one of the many who have one episode, and done, but right now it’s gone on two weeks and I can’t find any literature out there that says how long this inflammation is supposed to last. I love to travel and be active and this is really depressing me and giving me major anxiety because I don’t know if it will ever go away. 

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  • Posted

    Mtwok

    this is a good question!  I was also diagnosed 7weeks ago with diverticulitis also by ct scan. I was given 14 days of flagyl and Ciprofloxacin. My main symptoms were diarrhea and left sided abdominal pain. No fever .  The diarrhea continued the whole time I was taking the antibiotics but most of the pain went away. I am now three and a half weeks post antibiotics and I still have diarrhea, going 5 to 7 times every day mostly in the early part of the day. By mid afternoon I have no more diarrhea but feel full and bloated. The next morning it all starts again!

    i hope that someone has so ideas for us both

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  • Posted

    I have the same fear I had first attack Jan 2017 went 10 mos before another attack but since then I’m

    Having them left and right too close !!’

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  • Posted

    A95977, if your pain has gone away then that’s a good sign. I’ve taken these antibiotics for other things and the diharrea they cause did last a long time after taking them. Trying eating many probiotic cups of yogourt a day, that’s what helped me. 4-6 snack cups if you can.

    For me, I’m not even in the post-pain phase. The pain just won’t go away. 

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  • Posted

    I was diagnosed with chronic Diverticulitis in July 2016. I had 4 total attacks in 4 months. I had both constipation and diareah, lost 25 lbs because I couldn't keep nothing down or in. The usual course of antibiotics is 10 days. Be extremely careful on what you eat. No fresh vegetables or fruit, corn, tomatoes and tomato based sauces, & red meat. There are several sites on line that gives a better accurate list. No this disease does not ever go away unless you have surgery.  It took me 1 1/2 years, 14+ ER visits,  practically living on the antibiotics before I finally got approved for the surgery. I am 2 weeks out of sigmoid colectomy and feel so much better. No more extreme stomach flu like symptoms and was extremely lucky. If I had waited 2 months I would have been dead. Scar tissue from the condensed Diverticulitis pockets was causing the blockage which can and will inflame your stomach and esophagus.  Usual after 2 attacks it's recommended to do the surgery. Living with Diverticulitis is no life at all.

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  • Posted

    Has anyone else on here had more than two attacks and living with diverticulosis for years are all we all doomed! I hate this disease! I had more than one attack and no surgery :-(
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  • Posted

    Don't panic!  You will get better.  You will hear from other people who have lived a normal life and played sports etc with this disease.  The key is finding what foods you personally can eat and that may be difficult at first.  

    I had my first attack on Feb 1st this year.  No one gave me any information and I ate normal and ended up having a 2nd attack or else the first one never cleared up.  I researched online in the recliner with a heating pad on my abdomen and stumbled on this forum.  I read every single post.  I learned a lot from others and started eating much smaller portions- think half a sandwich.  Soon I was feeling much better and then finally I felt normal.  But I was concerned I was not getting enough vegetables or healthy foods so I asked my Dr to recommend a dietitian.  She helped but also suggested I get oatmeal back in my diet.  I have eaten oatmeal daily for over 30 years.  I started with an 1/8 of a cup for 2 weeks.  It seemed I was doing great with it until this week. Now I am having another attack.  I am almost certain it was the oatmeal.  I too despaired and wondered if I will ever be completely well.  But I have been well for several weeks and there is no reason to think this attack will not clear up too and I will be better.  So will you.  We just have to find out what to eat and what not to eat and that is difficult.  I have not had the colonoscopy yet and it is scheduled for June 6 unless it is pushed back because of this attack.

    My advice is to get enough rest.  You are healing and you have a disease.  The good news is you are not having to get chemo or radiation.  There are worse things out there.  People live with this.  We can adjust to this. 

    What was working good for me before I started more foods was a set routine.  I had an english muffin for breakfast, half a turkey sliced very thin sandwich for lunch on white bread and a white pasta with olive oil and sea salt and carrots and spinach cooked and some diced pickled beets with turkey or chicken cooked in the crock pot.  Life felt good but tasted very boring with the same menu day after day. 

    I felt so good I decided to be brave and brought in a few new foods which I may post in a new discussion and see what the problem was with those foods.  Then I felt the normal twinges and soon I was in a lot of pain and on a liquid diet again.  So here I am in the recliner yet again with a heating pad.  But I can speak from experience that I did get well and had a lot of energy and felt my old self.  Food is just food.  We need to eat to live but we don't have to make it the center of our life.  This is what I am telling myself.  I have not had a pepperoni pizza since Feb 1.  It was the last thing I ate when I had my first attack.  So it has been 4 months since I ate all the usual foods most people like.  I rode by a fast food place yesterday and thought I will never have another burger from there again.  But you know what?  I may be healthier because of it.  

    Read and research and learn from others. So many people have this.  Some eat completely normal.  I will not be one of those people because I will avoid this pain if at all possible.  So I will eat carefully for life.  But please don't be afraid. You will get more help from those who have this disease than the medical field so talk to others and see what worked for them.  As someone on this site said- most people get well on this forum and leave and so the people you hear from are those struggling too.  But one day you will be better and move on with your life and probably move on from this forum.  I hope you feel better soon.  You will get well again. It just takes longer than a normal sickness.  Give it time. Drink lots and lots of water and walk 30 minutes a day when you feel up to it.  Hang in there!  You are not alone!

    Blessings,

    Georgie

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  • Posted

    You will get better, and life will become almost back to normal.  MY first attack wasu the worst because I didn't know what it was and waited so long that i had a small rupture and ended up in the hospital for a few days with IV.  Came home on 2 antibiotics (flagyl and levaquin) - but could not tolerate the levaquin orally, even though I could through IV.  I felt terrible, anxious, on-going diarrhea, and though I would never enjoy life.  I am here to tell you you will get past that phase in recovery.  Take probiotics - that really helps the medicine-induced diarrhea, watch what you eat - liquids first, then soft - low fiber foods - then add more one at a time to see if you can tolerate.  Many also suggest fiber supplement.  Because I also have IBS - fiber does not help me much, tends to make me bloated and uncomfortable.  Since then - 10 years ago - I have had two additional attacks- and usually because I stopped watching my diet, or I think stress also played into it.  So now I am totally eliminating corn, popcorn, anything with seeds and nuts.  Seeds are the worst to avoid - includes so many things I like (tomatoes, okra, squash, berries, etc.)  Research says these things don't cause this, but my doctor said he would still advise staying away.  Drink lots of water, and if you start feeling pain, immediately go back to liquids for a little while, then soft, etc.  YES, you can live without surgery, but every situation is different.  Find a good GI doctor if problems continue, and would strongly advise a 2nd opinion before having surgery.  You will get better, but at the time, it seems like a forever situation.  It will cause some changes in lifestyle, but it becomes the new normal.  Hang in there - at some point you will find you have gone more than an hour or two without thinking about it.  

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  • Posted

    I don’t find my foods have any impact on it. I added more soups to my diet in hopes that being too heavy on solid foods would give me relief...there seems to be no correlation. So far, the only pattern I seem to notice is that, I wake up pain-free and it gets steadily worse over the day. Right now I woke up pain-free (or max 1/10 pain if I had to put a number on it) and went to sleep last night with a heating pad and 3/10 pain. I am going to spend as much of the weekend lying prone with heat in hopes that will help.

    I know a lot of people on here are saying this DOESN’T go away and they’re probably right,  but the literature I’ve read says you can have one bout of diverticulitis and never see one again. I just can’t find anything on how LONG attacks (inflammation) typically last. sad

    My CT scan did not indicate the presence of extensive diverticulosis (only the one inflamed diverticulum) or other disease which is why I’m crossing my fingers this just happened to be one bad infection of one diverticulum. Also, I was on orlistat for weight loss just prior to the inflammation and that probably didn’t help. sad

    Does anyone know any good GI or colon specialists in Canada?

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    • Posted

      I am also in Canada, Vancouver.  Not sure how long to live like this before expecting some improvement 
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  • Posted

    There are people who "live" with this disease.  In my case it had progressed so fast and developed scar tissue which indicated abscesses and perforations.  The scar tissue actually in one sense saved my life but also caused blockage. I followed every rule I could find. Ate smaller portions, stayed away from red meat, fresh vegetables and fruits,  basically lived off of eggs, cream of wheat, white bread, chicken, bone marrow broth and homemade soups with peeled diced potatoes, carrots,  celery and green beans.  I love Brussel sprouts, cabbages,  cauliflower,  broccoli but could not eat them.  I was constantly in pain, nausea and on the antibiotics which couldn't have been good for my liver and kidneys.  Tomatoes and tomato based sauces would trigger attacks.  I would drink 1 tsp of Metamucil,  2 Tbs milk of magnesium every morning.  My surgery has been a blessing and in my case saved my life. My best advice is to listen to your body. Everyone is different. 

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  • Posted

    Does anyone know if it is possible to have a single diverticula excised rather than a resection? If it turns out I don’t have extensive diverticular disease and simply have bad luck with one diverticula that became inflamed, maybe I can get minor surgery?

    As I said, my CT findings showed one inflamed diverticulum without perforation or abcess. There was no comment on the diagnosis indicating presence of other diverticulum in the colon and all other organs looked normal. Hoping my age and relative good health will work for me here. 

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    • Posted

      I started with 3, 1 was inflamed at the time of my colonoscopy.  I followed everything I was supposed to do. Ended up basically eating babyfood and still had attacks.  I've had 14+ attacks in less than 18 months, not including the doctors visits in between.  I'm on Medi Cal who is notorious for handing out pills instead of getting to the root of the problem . I'm fortunate my pockets were so condensed in the sigmoid area they only had to remove 4". If I had different insurance I wouldn't have had to wait so long and suffer before surgery.  Always,  if possible get a 2nd opinion.  That 1 pocket could just be in a bad spot. 

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  • Posted

    Like you, I had a single inflamed diverticulum on my CT scan. That was 4 weeks ago. I’ve been on two rounds of antibiotics and still have mild pain/discomfort. Probably a 3/10 at its worst. It’s not enough to really limit my ability to work (desk job) or do other things. I’m relatively young (46) and used to go to the gym 5 times a week but have not been since I was diagnosed. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for next Friday so I’m just trying to play it safe with a liquid/soft diet until then.
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  • Posted

    HFKMD your story and lifestyle sounds like mine. It’s disheartening your pain is still at a level 3 after 4 weeks sad why are they ordering a colonoscopy?

    Please let us know how you progress.

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    • Posted

      It’s pretty standard for most people to get a colonoscopy after their first diverticulitis flare, or so I’ve been told. To be honest, the anxiety leading up to the colonoscopy  and fear of food have been worst than the actual pain. 
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    • Posted

      I did not know you are suppose to have colonoscopy after first being diagnosed with DD , My DD is now finally just diverticulosis, but feel I’m having a flare up? I changed my lifestyle and eating habits, keep a food journal and was doing real good. How do you know if your having a flare up? . I started having hives, stomachache with nausea then diarrhea and lower back and side pain. Chills but no fever . The Dr took me off my Pristiq med for depression and anxiety cuz the side effects are almost exact to diverticulitis symptoms all my labs are normal and waiting on Cat Scan results, I did the 48 hr liquid diet and am now on the soft non fiber diet, but still have nausea and diarrhea, I take Mylanta and was wandering if it’s ok to take Imodium? Can you tell by Cat Scan and blood work if you are having flare up? Pls any ideas to help 
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    • Posted

      The CAT scan and bloodwork will usually be able to determine whether you’re having a flare
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    • Posted

      My Dr gave me an anti nausea pill that has really helped with feeling so sick.  Maybe you should call and ask him to send you something for nausea.    I am so sorry you are feeling so sick.   
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    • Posted

      How are you doing this week?

      My colonoscopy went well. It showed only one diverticulum in my cecum (right colon just above the appendix), and it was not inflamed. I’m still have occasional cramping and random pinches, but each week is better than the last. On a solid low residue diet and haven’t had any problems with any of the food I’ve tried so far. Follow up appointment with colorectal doc on June 28th just to see how I’m doing.

      I went back to the gym for the first time in 6 weeks last Monday. Boy, was I weak. I had to cut the weights I was lifting by about 30% for each type of lift. Haven’t done any cardio yet. Still kind of low-energy.

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    • Posted

      Sounds like you are on the mend!  It really is incredible how quickly you lose strength!  Hope all continues to go well
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