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Signs of Diverticulitis

A diverticulitis attack can include fever and chills, this is why people should know the signs of diverticulitis to prevent these attacks. My first attack gave me the sensation that I was having a bladder infection or stones as the infection localizes itself in the lower bowel area close to the bladder. It always starts like a stomach flu and over the next 12 hours works its way down and becomes localized in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen. It can feel like a pulled muscle and as bad as knife in that area. I had very low grade fever and…very mild nausea. As if I ate something sour…it hurt to the point I thought I was going to cry like a little girl.

What is Diverticulitis?

Scientists speculate that pressure inside the intestine increases when a person is sedentary and eats little fiber. This leads to a slower transit time of feces, less bowel movements and more straining during defecating. The pressure pushes weak spots in the colon outwards to form balloon like pouches. A pouch is diverticulum for singular and diverticula, plural.

A person who has a single diverticulum or up to several hundred diverticula, is afflicted with diverticulosis  Рa condition affecting about 10% of Americans and up to 50% of those over 60 years old. Most people do not know they have diverticulitis which presents few or no
symptoms.

When feces become trapped inside diverticula, causing inflammation, the person with diverticulosis develops diverticulitis. Most infections are small and heal themselves. However, they can lead to microscopic perforation sometimes surrounded by pus-filled abscess.

Complications include:

  • Obstruction of the intestine due to scarring
  • When an infected diverticulum ruptures, feces spill into the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen and cause peritonitis.

Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Mild Diverticulitis

  • Inflammation of the diverticulum or pouches cause moderate pain at the left lower quadrant and, elevated number of white blood cells.

Chronic Diverticulitis

  • Intestinal obstruction causes abdominal bloating, rigidity and pain.¬† It also causes nausea, vomiting, diminishing/absent of bowel sounds.
  • Alternating diarrhea and chronic constipation.
  • Ribbon-like stools.

Severe Diverticulitis

  • Due to ruptured pouches, the symptoms are abdominal rigidity and gripping pain, chills and fever, rectal bleeding and abnormally low blood pressure.

When Constipation is an Issue

“Apart from bouts of diarrhea, 2 or 3 months of a year, I become constipated for no apparent reason,” said a sufferer.

” I know painkillers can make me constipated but I wish my doctor can prescribe more, I really need them.”

” Don’t ever allow yourself to be constipated. It forces fecal matter into the pouches and risks of infection skyrocketed.”

The above comments show how difficult it is for sufferers to combat constipation. They have to watch what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat.

For example, they must abstain from fiber during a flare-up to let the colon rest. They can gradually increase fiber intake after the attack. Although certain seeds are no longer an issue according to Mayo clinic, some patients feel better avoiding seeds while others can tolerate them.

Many sufferers are elderly people. This means it’s not easy for them to be physically active. On top of this, they have other serious health issues to deal with. Yet, fighting constipation has to be a priority. Otherwise, they can end up in ER, losing a good portion of their colons or worst, losing the ability to pass stools naturally.

Reference:

Pathophysiology Made Incredibly Easy!
By Lippincott, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

 

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