Diverticulitis is very difficult to diagnose. This is because diverticulitis symptoms often appear to be something completely different, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Most of the time, if diverticulitis is believed to be present, a physician will first order some blood tests, which is mainly to determine whether conditions such as coeliac disease aren’t actually behind the symptoms.
What Is Diverticulitis?
The condition itself is related to the digestive tract, particularly in relation to the colon (large intestine). Within the intestine, small bulges start to develop and these become infected or inflamed. Diverticulitis signs include:
• Pain in the lower abdominal area.
A colonoscopy is often used to check whether bulges are present in the colon. This procedure involves inserting a camera into the rectum, which is then guided into the colon itself. You will first be given a laxative to help fully empty the bowels. This procedure is not painful but can be incredibly uncomfortable. As such, it is likely that you will receive a sedative and some painkillers. This will help to relax you and reduce any uncomfortable feelings.
Barium Enema X-Ray Procedures
An alternative method of finding diverticular is by using a barium enema X-ray. Barium, a liquid, will appear on X-rays. Organs, including the colon, do not normally show on X-rays, which is what the liquid is for. Again, before this procedure, you will have to empty your bowels, for which you have to receive a laxative. This procedure also involves rectal insertion. In this procedure, liquid is squirted into the rectum, after which the X-ray can be taken. Following this procedure, you will notice white or discolored stools, which is caused by the barium leaving the body. This isn’t anything to worry about and is perfectly normal.
If you are indeed found to have diverticulitis, you will generally be advised to eat a diet that is very high in fiber. There is a difference between diverticular disease and diverticulitis. With the latter, you will feel incredibly sick and ill, with flu-like symptoms. Hence, it may also be needed to take Paracetamol or other painkillers and perhaps even some antibiotics. It is generally not recommended to take aspirin or ibuprofen, as these can upset the stomach.
Usually, mild symptoms can be treated easily at home. If it becomes more serious, then hospitalization may be required. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required. This is generally only offered if there is a significant risk of complications. It is incredibly rare for this to happen.