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Look Out for These Telltale Signs: Symptoms of Diverticulitis

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Abdominal pain

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  • If you have diverticula (diverticulosis) but have never experienced abdominal pain or diarrhea, there’s a 70% to 80% chance that these sacs will not give you any painful symptoms
  • Remember that the symptoms of diverticulitis and diverticulosis are nonspecific, meaning they may occur in other digestive disorders, so it’s best to consult with a health care professional to confirm the presence of diverticula to confirm whether you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis

If there are diverticula in your colon (these are usually discovered during a colonoscopy or CT scan), you may be worried that you will be at risk of certain symptoms. But don't worry: If you have diverticula (diverticulosis) but have never experienced abdominal pain or diarrhea, there's a 70% to 80% chance that these sacs won't give you any painful symptoms.1 If you do experience diverticulosis symptoms, they tend to be generally mild, and include:2

  • Abdominal pain, particularly in the belly
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea (occurs less often)
  • Cramping

It is said that eating a high-fiber diet may help reduce the symptoms of diverticulitis,3 although this is still a hotly debated topic.

Warning Signs of Diverticulitis

Once you have diverticulitis and it flares up, symptoms become more intense and painful. According to EMedicineHealth, these symptoms may include:4

  • Constant and severe pain in the lower abdomen
  • A change in your normal bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea (which is less common)
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Having a fever of 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F) or above
  • Chills
  • A general feeling of being tired and unwell (malaise)
  • Bright red or maroon blood after you defecate

What Does Diverticulitis Pain Feel Like?

The pain associated with a diverticulitis attack, as well as its other symptoms, may either come on suddenly and severely, or may build up over a few days.5 It usually starts below the belly button and then moves to the lower left-hand side.6 East Asian people, however, often develop the pain in the lower right part of the abdomen,7 as they develop diverticular disease in a different area of their colon for genetic reasons.

Serious complications like abscesses or peritonitis8 may arise if this illness is not addressed immediately, which is why, if you experience diverticulitis symptoms, you should consult a health care professional to get a proper diagnosis.

If you notice that your symptoms have become persistent, such as if the abdominal pain has worsened or you have a fever that doesn't go away,9 get medical attention immediately. Only about one-quarter of diverticulitis patients develop complications,10 but if they do occur, they can be life-threatening.

Remember that these symptoms of diverticulitis and diverticulosis are nonspecific, meaning they may occur in other digestive disorders, so it's best to consult with a health care professional to confirm the presence of diverticula, and confirm whether you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis.

MORE ABOUT DIVERTICULITIS

Diverticulitis: Introduction

What Is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis Causes

Diverticulitis Types

Is Diverticulitis Hereditary?

Diverticulitis Signs and Symptoms

Diverticulitis Treatment

Diverticulitis Prevention

Diverticulitis Diet

Diverticulitis FAQ

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