Tiny bowel perforation after flare up. Feeling scared

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I have just come out of hospital after a week's stay being treated for diverticulitis. I was diagnosed with this horrible condition in 2007 and since then have probably had somewhere between 6-10 flare ups. I usually manage the condition at home without the use of antibiotics but this time the pain was so intense I took myself off to A&E. They put me on IV metronidazole and cefaroxime plus IV painkillers but after three days my inflammatory markers were going up instead of down so they did a CT scan which revealed diverticulitis and a tiny perforation in my sigmoid colon. No wonder I was in so much pain! As the perforation was so small the treatment was the same, complete bowel rest and antibiotics.

Now I'm home I'm scared to eat anything solid in case the perforation hasn't healed. I ate nothing solid in hospital, only yoghurts and soups towards the end of my stay. Two doctors have given conflicting advice, one said to start eating normally straight away and the other said to keep my diet very light. I'm on oral antibiotics for another week (co-amoxiclav). I'm still getting some mild discomfort mostly in the evenings. I'm seeing the consultant in about six weeks time where we may discuss the option of a resection.

I'm 63 years old but feel about 93 at the moment. Any advice would be appreciated

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I personally would stick to a light diet for at least a couple of weeks, certainly whilst you are taking the antibiotics. Then small meals building up slowly to a normal diet. You are used to managing this condition so should know what you can and can't eat. In 6 weeks time when you see the consultant hopefully the perforation will have healed. But you do need to do your research before surgery. I had 2 Consultants - one said surgery, the other said no. SO I went for managing by diet which is working out OK so far. Best wishes

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I normally go on a very light diet when I've had previous flare ups but this time it feels different because of the tiny perforation. I'm getting some mild discomfort low down on the left hand side which I didn't have when I was in hospital and which I assume is where the perforation is. I am going to the loo properly which is good. Did you have a perforation or just repeated episodes of diverticulitis which made you consider a resection?

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    • Posted

      Hi

      I was lucky enough to never have a perforation. The Consultant whotried to do the 2nd colonoscopy said that he felt I needed a resection, as I was now so narrow, scarred and twisted he was unable to insert even the child size scope. However after a CT scan his boss decided a resection was not necessary, and on the advice of my cousin, I went for the dietary option.

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    • Posted

      That's interesting because for the first time ever the consultant I saw said that he thought the flare ups were completely unconnected to what I ate. He believes it is all to do with the consistency of the faeces and keeping everything moving by drinking lots of water and having a high fibre diet. The strange thing is I have never been constipated. I eliminated nuts and seeds from my diet and sweetcorn but other than that eat most things. It really is beginning to get me down and I'm feeling really anxious about it all. He also said that stress has nothing to do with it either.

      Are you following a particularly high fibre diet?

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    • Posted

      I have been told that the key is to keep the bowels moving. But after a flare up and perforation, these foods are easier on your stomach.

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Not particularly, although I do eat a lot of fresh and frozen fruit and veggies, in salads, soups and purees. I can't eat gluten so I do have GF porridge with fruit, and restrict my bread to 2 slices a day max - sometimes none. I keep my bowels loose - in fact I "go" up to 6 times a day. If I find I'm straining, I take a couple of Senecot (maybe once a fortnight).

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  • Posted

    I'm just curious as to whether the yogurts they gave you in hospital were live? I ask because my sister was in hospital for 6 weeks and they kept giving her yoghurt but it was never live - just a normal (cheapish) fruit flavour with very little goodness in it.

    You need to take probiotics because you are on antibiotics and all your good gut flora will be killed off along with the bad guys that are causing your problems. Live yoghurt is a soothing and easily digestible food that will also help repopulate your gut. There are several flavoured varieties available now, also kefir and kombucha are in some supermarkets and make a nourishing drink which give you probiotics. You can also take probiotic capsules - which is a great idea as you will be getting a wider variety of good bugs into you.

    Soups are brilliant, especially if you feel well enough to make your own, as you can pack them with all kinds of goodness and blend them so they are easy to digest.

    Hope you get well soon.

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  • Posted

    I wish for you a healthy, and fast recovery. I suffer from diverticulitis and i from time to time experience discomfort. As of lately i have not feeling like myself I am 62 years young . Have you experienced any blood in stool or urine?

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    • Posted

      Sorry to take a while to get back to you. I haven't noticed any blood in either my stool or urine but they asked me that in hospital several times. I will be having a colonoscopy in a few months so I'll find out exactly what condition my bowel is in. I'm not confident! I wish you well with this horrible condition

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  • Posted

    I was hospitalized in July for the same thing. perforation and all. I was able to eat a low residue diet when I left the hospital. I ate lots of mashed potatoes...and rice. Just google a low residue diet and it will tell you what you can have. I was on that for a few months. I wish you luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply, that gives me confidence going forward. Think I may try some mashed potato today and see how it goes down. Think I'll give rice a miss as i don't want to get constipated. Did they tell you how long the perforation would take to heal? I was told 10 days.

      I have taken co-amoxiclav once before and i think it is really strong and messes up all the flora in my gut so I will definitely take a probiotic.

      Most people have heard of colitis and Crohn's disease but very few people have heard of diverticulitis. It is a horrible condition, my mother had it and i really worry that my daughter will develop it

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    • Posted

      Yes, ten days is what i was told about the perforation healing. The reason for the low residue diet is so that you don't get much fiber at all. With fiber your stools will be more firm and may hurt to go to the restroom. With the low residue diet I also took miralax. My grandmothwr also had this disease also.

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    • Posted

      Hi Lorid

      How long did it take for you to start eating normally again after your perforation? I'm still experiencing some pain although nothing like as bad as before, my GP has told me to eat no dairy although they told me in hospital I could eat yoghurts so I'm getting mixed messages. How long were you on antibiotics for? I finished mine on Monday but my GP asked me if I wanted/needed anymore .... not sure how i'm supposed to know. It all seems very confusing

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    • Posted

      Hi Liz...

      Actually i stayed on the low residue diet for about 2 months. I was scared of another perforation. Then I started slowly introducing food back into my menu. Dall Dairy never has seemed to affect me badly. In fact for a ling long time eggs were my go to food. If you still have pain you may need another round of antibiotics. I have been fighting this disease long enough to know what is normal pain and what is flare up. Honestly I am never completely pain free anymore.

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    • Posted

      Poor you to have pain every day. Maybe that's the way it'll be for me now. I think I have to learn to be more patient and wait for my body to heal itself. I think I'll try to avoid taking any more antibiotics if I can

      Are you in the US?

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