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Diagnosis and tests of diverticulitis


This article is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Seek medical care for your treatment.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis:

Diverticula are small protruding pouches that can develop in the lining of your digestive system. Mostly they are found in the lower part of the large intestine.  Diverticula are frequent after the age of 40 and it is very rare that they can create any problems. The presence of diverticula is identified as diverticulosis. When one or more of the pouches become swollen and infected, that condition is known as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can lead to extreme abdominal pain and unrest, fever, nausea and a significant change in your bowel habits. Changes in your diet, plenty of rest and antibiotics can treat mild diverticulitis. Chronic or recurring diverticulitis demands surgery.

How frequent is diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is an uncommon complication, although diverticulosis is a common condition. About 4% of patients are afflicted with diverticulosis. You have a 20% chance of getting it again after you’ve once had it.

Types of diverticulitis:

  • Acute/chronic:

When diverticulitis first shows up, it is an acute condition, meaning that it emerges rapidly and goes away quickly with treatment. However, some people experience diverticulitis episodes again, and some people experience ongoing inflammation. Various theories exist to explain why this occurs. It can be connected to another chronic condition in your colon, or it might be the result of an acute incident that didn’t fully heal.

  • Complicated/uncomplicated:

Diverticulitis is typically an uncomplicated condition, meaning that the scope of the issue is primarily inflammation and maybe infection. If the appropriate care is given, it cures quickly. When additional complications arise from the inflammation, diverticulitis becomes more complex. For instance, a diverticulum (singular of diverticula) may burst due to extremely severe acute inflammation. Damage from persistent inflammation is possible.

Diagnosis and tests of diverticulitis:

Your doctor will question about your symptoms, health history and consumptions of your medicines to diagnose diverticulitis.  They will take a physical exam to check your abdomen for tenderness. If more information is required a digital rectum exam can be carried out to check the following:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pain 
  • Masses
  • Other problems

Various other conditions can develop symptoms that are similar to diverticulitis. To eliminate other conditions and check for signs of diverticulitis, doctor might take one or more tests.

Tests can include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound, abdominal MRI scan, abdominal CT scan, or abdominal X-ray to create pictures of your gastrointestinal tract
  • Colonoscopy to determine the inside of your GI tract, although this takes place after a bout of diverticulosis
  • Stool test to identify infections such as Clostridium difficile
  • Urine test to check for infections
  • Blood test to check for indications of inflammation, anemia, kidney or liver problems
  • Pelvic exam to eliminate gynecological problems in people specified female at birth
  • Pregnancy test to exclude pregnancy in people assigned female at birth

With the help of these tests and exams your doctor can determine if you have an uncomplicated or complicated diverticulitis.

Colonoscopy for diagnosing diverticulitis:

After the acute illness passes, your doctor may suggest a colonoscopy if you have diverticulitis symptoms. This process can support the diagnosis of diverticulitis or another illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis that produces symptoms that are similar to diverticulitis.

Your doctor will insert a flexible scope into your colon and rectum during a colonoscopy. They can inspect the interior of your colon with this scope. It can also be used to gather tissue samples for analysis. You will be sedated before this treatment in order to make you feel at ease.

Sometimes, a typical colonoscopy will reveal to your doctor that you have diverticula. You probably won’t need treatment if the diverticula aren’t swollen, infected, or producing symptoms.

CT pneumocolon or colonography:

A computerised tomography (CT) scan is another method for validating the presence of diverticula. A CT scan produces finely detailed images of the inside of the body by using X-rays and a computer.

Similar to a colonoscopy, a laxative will be administered to you in order to facilitate bowel movement before to the CT scan. In contrast to a standard CT scan, a colonography scan entails the insertion of a tube that is intended to pump air into your rectum. You will next be asked to lie on your front and back for the CT scan. Contrast dye injections are optional prior to the scan, however they may be required.

What to expect if you have this disease?

Only a tiny number of patients will experience severe diverticulitis, and even fewer will require surgery. Even complex diverticulitis often responds well to therapy, clearing up the condition entirely in most cases. Your life expectancy shouldn’t be impacted by diverticulitis overall. The only way you could endanger your life would be if you had a ruptured abscess or a bowel perforation.


In the West, diverticulitis is a quite prevalent condition. It is usually curable with short-term dietary adjustments and medicines.

Should issues arise, they may be extremely hazardous. It is likely that your doctor will recommend hospital treatment if your diverticulitis is severe. To fix any harm to your colon, surgery can be required.

Consult your physician if you have diverticulitis or have concerns about your chance of contracting it. They can promote the health of your digestive system and teach you how to treat this illness.

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