What are the Symptoms of a Diverticulitis Flare Up?

Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches (diverticula) in the colon become inflamed or infected. A diverticulitis flare-up can cause a range of symptoms, which may vary in severity. Common symptoms of a diverticulitis flare-up include:

  • Abdominal Pain: The hallmark symptom of diverticulitis is lower abdominal pain, usually on the left side. The pain can be sudden, sharp, and severe, often described as cramping or tenderness. It may persist and become worse over time.
  • Fever: Inflammation and infection can lead to a fever, which is often accompanied by chills and an overall feeling of illness.
  • Change in Bowel Habits: Some individuals with diverticulitis experience changes in their bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation. These changes may be accompanied by urgency or a feeling of incomplete bowel movements.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting can occur in response to abdominal pain and discomfort.
  • Bloating and Gas: Abdominal bloating and increased gas production are common symptoms during a diverticulitis flare-up.
  • Blood in the Stool: In some cases, diverticulitis can cause rectal bleeding. Blood in the stool may appear bright red or dark, tarry, depending on the location of the bleeding.
  • Frequent Urination: Inflammation in the abdominal region can put pressure on the bladder, leading to increased frequency of urination.
  • Tenderness and Swelling: The affected area of the abdomen may become tender to the touch, and there can be localized swelling or a feeling of fullness.

It’s important to note that not all individuals with diverticulosis (the presence of diverticula in the colon) will experience diverticulitis or have flare-ups. Diverticulitis flare-ups can vary in severity, with some being mild and self-limiting, while others can be more severe and require medical attention.

If you suspect you are experiencing a diverticulitis flare-up, it’s advisable to seek medical evaluation and care. Diagnosis is typically made through a combination of clinical evaluation, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as CT scans. Treatment for diverticulitis may include dietary modifications, antibiotics to manage infection, pain relief, and, in some cases, hospitalization for severe cases or complications like abscesses or bowel perforation.

Preventive measures to reduce the risk of diverticulitis flare-ups often include dietary changes, such as increasing fiber intake to promote regular bowel movements and reduce pressure within the colon. Maintaining good hydration and a healthy lifestyle can also play a role in reducing the risk of diverticulitis.

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