Surgery to treat diverticulosis?

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Hi, I recently had a colonoscopy to check for bowel cancer. The good news is that the consultant did not find any signs of malignancy. The not such good news is that he did find, in his words "severe diverticulosis" - so severe in fact that he was not able complete the colonoscopy. So, he referred me to have a colon CT scan. I got the results from this last week and they confirm that I do have a lot of diverticula in my colon. The consultant is now recommending that I have surgery to remove my the affected parts of my intestines.

Looking back I have suffered numerous bouts of GI discomfort - severe indigestion, diarrhoea, abdominal pain etc - over many years. However, I've never had to take time off work, or take antibiotics to treat these attacks, or go to hospital. I simply self-diagnosed IBS and carried on.

So, while I am inclined to have the surgery, I also have some nagging doubts as to whether such a drastic solution is necessary for my condition. Can anybody help me with their own experiences?

 

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  • Posted

    Hi

    sorry to hear of your troubles, it must be quite bad for them to suggest surgery!  From my perspective surgery was literally the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I had such severe diverticulitis that my bowel perforated twice before they decided to operate.  I had to have an ileostomy for four months before they reconnected everything.  It was a difficult time for me, and often I wasn't sure if I could cope, but I did and 7 months on I am normal, there is no more disease, no more pain and normal bowel movements, hallelujah!!  Often with surgery they don't need to do an ileostomy every case is different.  The disease is so debilititating at times and now I feel better than I have done for years it was literally life saving.  Good luck

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    • Posted

      It is great news that you have no problems now, can I just ask do you have no bag fitted and do you still have to watch what you eat please x
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    • Posted

      I have no bag now, it was always meant to be temporary to allow the colon that was left to heal safely.  Immediately after the reversal surgery I remained on a low fibre diet and am now reintroducing foods slowly but surely.  I think I will always avoid what I called the 'Devils Food' tomatoes, sweet corn, nuts all the seed type foods and one food my surgeon said never to eat was 'mushrooms'. I take time eating and chew my food so much, I'm always last to finish eating!!
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    • Posted

      HI Carol, thanks for your reply. I'm really glad that the surgery has made such a positive difference to your condition and that you are feeling so well now. I have not suffered such debilitating symptoms as you and that is why I am having my doubts about the surgery. How do the risks of me developing these servers symptoms compare with the risks associated with the surgery?
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    • Posted

      The thing is that I know that they would not embark on such major surgery unless they thought it was necessary, it is not without risks. I think also that diverticular disease cannot be cured only managed by diet if you are lucky.  It is a massive decision and if it was me I would always remember that they would not operate unless they thought it necessary.,
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    • Posted

      I just thought that the possible risks of not having surgery would of course be more frequent debilitating flare ups possibly resulting in hospitalisation, IV antibiotics etc etc, and of course the risk of one of the diverticula pouches perforating as in my case. Keep in touch I'll be interested to see what happens!!
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    • Posted

      Hi there, I'm jumping in here about good and bad foods.  How did you find out about what foods to eat and which ones not to?  And why mushrooms?  I'm still self guiding and trying hard to keep away from certain foods but being veggie I'm eating almond nuts (they're in my cereal as well as seeds) and sometimes tomatoes.  I still haven't seen a dietician and am now thinking I should.  
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    • Posted

      Hi Laura

      i was always told to avoid nuts, seeds, pips, and I understand the mushroom thing is that they don't digest at all well and actually swell in the bowel.  A dietitian would best advise you.  During a flare up I would go on low fibre and sometimes just fluids.  But never eat any of the above, ever and I never will.  The indigestible seeds and pips are the things that get trapped in the little pouches and fester and cause infections and pain, and if you're really unlucky perforations.  I hope you get some really good advise and good luck x

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    • Posted

      Hi Carol, thanks so much - I'm very aware of the seeds etc. but didin't know about the mushrooms so I think I will have to speak / see a dietician as obviously it's going to be much harder being veggie.  I try to drink a lot of liquid during the day anyway with lots of fresh veggies and fibre.  Fingers crossed.
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    • Posted

      Hi Carol. At last I have found someone who has had the surgery. I had it too in February, I didnt have the bag and have recovered well slower than I thought but almost there. The doctors should not suggest 6 weeks as I pushed for that and returned to work full time and with three kids too it was a bit much. I dont suffer with the debilitating pains of before, but have an iriting nausea snesation and aching in the upper stomach above my belly button, this is where they opened up the belly button and put the camera in as I had keyhole surgery. Just wondered whether you are or have suffered with any post op on going problems? Dont get me wrong this is nothing compared to before the OP but it is effecting my work and I am on restricted duties as I struggle to sit down in an upright chair for more than 20 minutes at a time. I cant drive for more than approx 30 mins at a time withput the aching in the upper stomach. My GP has now said I need to see a physio as he is not sure what it can be..Just wondered whether you suffer with anything similar as I havnt come across any one who has had the op.. Thanks in advance
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    • Posted

      Hi, I'm pleased that you recovered so well, it's such a relief isn't it?  i did suffer from a fair bit of nausea for about three months and took medication intermittently, even now there are days where I feel queasy but don't need to take anything.  I wonder if it could be scar tissue forming that's causing you discomfort.  My tummy is full of scars now and I do suffer from scar pain and  quite hard swellings, in particular where my bag was.  I think I may have a hernia (a big risk after abdominal surgery). Unfortunately because we have just moved getting to see a new GP is a ridiculously difficult so I can't get a diagnosis!  Perhaps you returned to work too quickly and have overdone it, try to take it easy.  Does it hurt if you sit in one position?  Perhaps the nausea and discomfort is something quite unrelated to your surgery, I do find that once you've had surgery the doctors do tend to focus on this and not investigate other things.  Good luck, hope you feel better soon please let me know how you get on.
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  • Posted

    Can I ask why did they investigate you for bowel cancer? Symptoms can be very similar to diverticular disease. They could probably not complete the coloscopy due to strictures, obstructions. These can be caused by diverticular disease. You don't necessarily have to be really sick in hospital in drop to get these. Over time, repeat low grade infection could cause this too. I'm pretty certain surgeons want to operate to ensure you won't suffer total obstruction in future. Believe me, they don't cut unnecessarily these data as surgery carries risk both during and after operation however a ruptured obstruction is more dangerous to anyone than a planned, elective surgical resection if the diseased bit of intestine. If it's elective you may get away without having a stoma bag after too. Emergency surgery is more likely to end with stoma, peritonitis and sepsis.
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    • Posted

      In January I had a hernia repair operation. Afterwards I was given codeine to control the pain. These caused me to suffer contipation, which set off a bout of haemorrhoids - a condition which I have suffered from on and off for many years. But these were worse than before and lasted for 3 months. Eventually I saw the GP, who referred me to the GI consultant. He treated them and recommended to colonoscopy to rule out anything more sinister - including cancer.

      You are correct about why he couldn't complete the colonoscopy - he told me that my colon was too narrow at some point for him to pass the apparatus any further inside me. And he has explained to me about the risk of more serious symptoms developing in the future. But, I haven't yet experienced any of these problems yet and I trying to evaluate the risks that these will occur against the risks associated with the operation.

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    • Posted

      Hi

      How do bowel cancer symptoms be similar to diverticolosis or diverticulitis. Can you explain please. I am having bouts of I am not sure what. Sometimes It feels like IBS but other times it feels totally different. I have a dull pain that will not go away on my left lower abdomen. Plus it feels like a wound when I move around or walk too much. I had a hard time taking a shower today. Bending down is hard. I can only have a CT scan when I have the next bad bout.

      I am sorry for all of us. This is taking control of my life. One thing that scares me is

      since my last bout June 1 2015 I went down from 125lbs to 108lbs and can't seem to gain it back. I an 5'1 feet tall. 52 years old . I kind of look a little sickly. I don't like when people notice. The I have to explain.

      Vivian

      😕

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    • Posted

      Hi Vivian

      any change in bowel habits, bleeding, weight loss, pain need to be investigated, from the outside the symptoms are similar!!  Have you had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy?  They are a very good diagnostic tool and as you say there's not much point in having a CT unless you are having a flare up.

      Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Last year I had a colonoscopy and CT. However following that I had 4 bout requiring antibiotics. Surgeon suggested another CT during an episode. I am not bleeding. Complete bowel irregulation. I gave nig had a sigmoid test and don't know why no Dr

      Has mentioned to me. I have nog had a C diff. Test yet either.

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    • Posted

      A CTscan is not 100% accurate for ruling out bowel cancer I was told when I had one with my first bout of diverticulitis. The consultant said they could only do that with a colonoscopy which would be performed 6weeks later when the infection had healed. I lost about half a stone and have not put it back on as further less serious bouts have forced me to eat small meals or follow a liquid diet. Eating a three course meal at a restaurant is a no-no.

      My problems are compounded by the very bad adhesions as a result of the hysterectomy I had 15years ago. They pull on my intestines and it is hard to distinguish whether pain is being caused by this or an inflamed diverticulum.

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