Diverticular disease affects approximately 30 million Americans each year, according to the Rochester Health website. Diverticulosis occurs when little pockets, which are known as diverticula, form along the colon wall. When these pockets get inflamed or infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. A flare-up of diverticulitis can include a variety of symptoms and, if severe enough, may require hospitalization.
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One symptom of a flare-up of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The patient may feel sudden pain in the lower left part of the abdomen, according to MayoClinic.com. In some cases, the pain may start out as a mild one and then gradually increase over several days.
The symptom fever is also associated with diverticulitis as well. The fever results from the infection of the pockets in the colon; this requires treatment with antibiotics, according to the U.S. Pharmacist website. In more severe diverticulitis cases, the fever may be higher than 101 degrees F because of a more serious colon infection, which may require hospitalization with IV antibiotics.
According to the National Health Service, some patients may develop urinary problems like urinary frequency and pain during urination. As noted on the Cleveland Clinic website, the location of the bladder near the sigmoid section of the colon may be the cause of the urinary symptoms. These symptoms only occur in a few patients.
Nausea and Vomiting
Another symptom of a diverticulitis flare-up includes nausea and vomiting, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Severe nausea and vomiting with abdominal distension may suggest a more significant complication of diverticulitis, such as a bowel obstruction.
Change in Bowel Habits
Patients with a diverticulitis flare-up may present with symptoms of either diarrhea or constipation, as noted on the Cleveland Clinic website. Some patients have bouts of constipation followed by bouts of diarrhea.
Diverticulitis may cause gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be severe. As noted on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website, a blood vessel in a diverticulum bursts; these bleedings might be severe. Sometimes the bleeding may stop on its own, but sometimes a colonoscopy may be needed to find the vessel and stop the bleeding.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Mayo Clinic: Diverticulitis
- Rochester Health: What Does It Mean if You Have Diverticulosis or Diverticulitis?
- National Health Service: Diverticular Disease and Diverticulitis: Symptoms
- Cleveland Clinic: Colonic Diverticular Disease
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Diverticulitis
- U.S. Pharmacist: Diverticulitis: Overview and Management
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis