Right Sided Diverticulitis

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I am a 46-year-old man with no significant medical problems until now. About 12 days ago I started having vague abdominal pain and cramping. Two days later I saw a physicians assistant who thought I might have appendicitis because I was most tender when she pressed on my right lower abdomen. No fever, no nausea, no vomiting, no diarrhea. She ordered a CT scan that showed right sided diverticulitis. She gave me a 10-day course of Cipro and Flagyl, which I finished yesterday.

Initially I was not told to start a clear liquid diet. It was only after my pain did not improve on 2 days of antibiotics that I called my doctor who told me to switch to a liquid diet. Pain got a little better for a couple of days and then last Wednesday night I started having terrible pain in my back and right side. I went to the doctor the next morning. He ordered another CT scan which showed that the inflammation from my diverticulitis had gone away. The scan was otherwise negative. They attributed my new pain to muscle spasms and prescribed me Vicodin.

I tried advancing my diet this past Friday to white bread and cheese. I had a few handfuls of pretzels Friday night, and then I was up all night with pain. Back to a liquid diet Saturday and Sunday. Pain subsided somewhat but then returned last night. The pain is kind of a nagging pressure or burning with an occasional sharp pain once in a while. No fever, no nausea, no vomiting. I've had loose stools, which makes sense because I'm not eating anything solid.

I am having an incredible amount of anxiety and am very depressed. I'm 12 days in and it seems like there's no end in sight. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for June 1st, but I can't even imagine living like this until then. Also, there's always the possibility that this could be cancer, which even though that's a low possibility, it stays in the back of my mind and makes me incredibly anxious and fearful. I'm in a bad place and any words of encouragement or insight would be very much appreciated.

 

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  • Posted

    I am guessing you are in the USA from the drugs prescribed.  They are very strong and have severe side effects, some of which are altered bowel movements, depression and lethargy.  And you are right about the bowel movements as input = output.  Of course you will be anxious until after you have had the colonoscopy - I know I certainly was - but if they truly suspected cancer, you would have been seen and treated a lot quicker. 

    It is standard practice with suspected Diverticular Disease to wait until possible infection and inflammation has died down before doing the colonoscopy.  As you show no signs of infection (ie fever) and you haven't mentioned your blood count, I would hope it's just inflamed diverticula rather then infected. 

    As for your pain, what you are describing is absolutely typical of Diverticulitis.  I'm sorry to tell you, but it normally takes about 4 - 6 weeks before you start to feel more normal.  You have to finish the pills and give them a good week to clear your system.  The pain should slowly ease, becoming less and less frequent.  Try Tylenol and heat pads on your sore spots.  Stick mainly to fluids but try to introduce the low residue food, perhaps just a mouthful at a time.  I would say white crustless bread OK, pretzels probably not.  Keep a record of what you eat and note what makes the pain worse.  You need to avoid that - certainly for the time being.  This is a disease that takes time and patience.  Also it is with you for life, but is totally manageable.  Once you are better, this forum will give you lots of advice and tips on how to manage.  Just make sure you have plenty of water.  Best wishes

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your response, felinia. I am currently terrified to eat anything, as I don't want to exacerbate the pain. Truly a miserable experience, and as it's my first attack, I'm not used to any of this and don't know what to expect or if what I'm experiencing is normal or not.

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Does sound like typical diverticulitis. 

      Listen to Felina she has helped me so much over the years. Try not to worry about cancer I’m sure if that was suspected they would have seen you sooner.

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  • Posted

    All of what Felina said - plus try one or two probiotics which may help with digestion.  Meds play with your mind as well as your physical body - I suffered high anxiety when on them and afterwards for about 2 weeks.  You will look back and realize this, but very hard to accept when you are going through it.  Eat soft or pureed low-fiber soups, jello, mashed potatoes (no seasoning) and maybe Ensure drinks for nutritional value.  As Felina said, it is life-altering as far as diet and stress, but very manageable!  
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  • Posted

    It took a full 90 days for me to get back to normal after a DD attack the end of January 2018 sent me to the hospital for a 2-day UV antibiotics for DD. Thereafter, I had a flare up  and another 10-day round of antibiotics (the same ones you mentioned). They made me feel terrible, but when I finished them, I have been symptom-free since. I want to emphasize that I am extremely care what i eat and drink. I eat oatmeal with blueberries and a liquified pure veggie drink every morning. I eat yogurt and a clear broth (homemade) for lunch, and a light dinner, sometimes just yogurt, but I've started adding soft fish and veggies. And I drink a minimum of 100 ounces of water daily. Absolutely no "scratchy" foods like (my favorites) chips, pretzels, crackers, salsa, fried foods, etc.) And I drink no alcohol. In other words, I "walk on eggshells" to make sure I'm not ingesting anything that could possibly aggravate the DD and cause another dreaded flare up. It takes lots of time. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I definitely feel your pain. I’ve been dealing with diverticulitis since last December and have surgery scheduled this coming Friday for colon resection. 

    I do know this, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to recover from a diverticulitis attack. Since you are less than two weeks in, give it more time. Slow and easy is key.  Drink plenty of water all the time to make sure you don’t constipate.  Stay on low residue foods until you feel normal. Once you’re normal, you want to go on a high fiber diet to prevent more pressure in your colon.  I would definitely avoid any types of foods that may make you constipated, like cheese and others. My diet consisted of probiotic yogurt (lactose free), organic chicken breasts, white rice (baked), white pastas, creamy peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, boiled eggs, Jell-O gelatin, etc. There are lots of resources online for low residue foods. The key with this type of diet is slowing everything down in your colon to prevent pain and possible damage to the tissue, which will allow you to heal better. It just takes 4-6 weeks time typically.

    I wish you the best of luck!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your feedback. As you probably know, when you are in the throes of a flare like I am, it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

      I hope your surgery goes well this Friday!

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    • Posted

      Good luck on your surgery!

      I am now 4 wks post op and feel great!

      Feel free to contact me with questions.

      Keep up with a diary after it helps!

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  • Posted

    I’m sorry you are still not feeling well.  I was diagnosed with DD at your age (46)and treated at first with a heating pad on area and liquid diet for  a day or two then on to soft foods and low residue as no seeds, skins or hard to digest foods.

    I would go back to soft foods, no fiber and heating pad.

    I take Bentyl ( prescription ) which helps with spasms in colon.  You probably have really upset your system with DD and it will take time to heal.

    Get a good probiotic at pharmacy.  I took Florestor for several months to get back to normal.

    I also recommend not getting constipated .  I take Miralax almost every day until I am regular.  It’s really helpful so as not to strain.

    It takes time and patience to heal.  If all the above does not help I would see another Gastro doctor.

    If this gives a little hope I’m 72 and every year I get a flare up , sometimes two.  I try treating my fate ups with heating pad and liquid diet and if I’m still in pain I’m on an antibiotic quick as I can see physician.

    Good luck and God Bless.

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    • Posted

      I'm interested to know if, since you've been dealing with a DD flare up every year for several years, has surgery ever been recommended by your GI doc? I've had 3 instances of DD in 3 years, and was surprised 

      that my GI doc referred me to a colorectal surgeon (who determined I was not a candidate for surgery at this time) instead of recommending a strict diet plus drinking lots of water. Actually, it was a participant from this blog who commented that he would be cautious about opting for surgery due to complications. At this time, I'm symptom free, and happy that I took a conservative approach to the topic of surgery, but who knows what the future will bring with this aggravating condition.  

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  • Posted

    Hi! I’m the same as you (except a little older, 52). I had lower left pain, went to Dr, who sent me right to hospital. Diagnosed with DD by CT scan. Was sent home with 10 days of Cipro and  Flagyl.

    I had diarrhea for a full two weeks from the meds. I ate rice,

    Applesauce, toast and bananas. Eventually I added white fish, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. Definitely get a probiotic, it helps calm your stomach. Anytime something feels weird again,

    I do liquid diet for a day and it settles down. I have my colonoscopy in 1 1/2 weeks and am dreading it and scared too. Everyone in this forum is so helpful, glad you found it! 

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    • Posted

      No one looks forward to a colonoscopy, but there's no doubt that it's a lifesaver. Even in the worst case scenario, if cancer is detected early, it's said that the vast majority has no reoccurrence of the cancer. My father died from colon cancer because he was of the generation that simply did not go to the doctor, so he had never had a colonoscopy, at age 78. Now, I have one every 3 years, even though the doc says every 5 years is adequate. Hope all goes well for you. 

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  • Posted

    Please don't think cancer...my pain landed me in 2 ER's, xrays, CT Scan and 2 ultrasounds and nothing was showing.  This went on for 6 weeks.  Pain was in lower back and left front.  When my dr. prescribed all these stool softeners etc...nothing was working.  She said wait a couple of weeks and maybe  a gastroenterologist.  I wasn't waiting so called right away.  The girl said she can see you in 3 weeks....NOPE!  I said I'm having a baby without the baby that's how bad the pains are.  Amazing appt appeared right then for the next day.  The dr. told me to get CT scan which we drove 2 states away to get (okay only 1.5 hrs but still 2 states lol) and sure enough misread.  Infected diverticulitis.  I was then put on the two antibiotics with a specific diet to eat, (you can find it on line) and 2 weeks later colonoscopy.  I am feeling so much better and eating whatever I want.  So don't give up hope.  Call gastro tomorrow and say you need to be seen and bring in any scans or anything else you have.  The pain is brutal.  I did have the vomiting and dia and lost 15 lbs (which I have managed to keep off since November).  

     

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