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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis (cont.)

Diverticulitis Symptoms

Most people with diverticulosis have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they are usually mild and include the following:

  • pain in the belly (abdomen),
  • bloating,
  • constipation (less often, diarrhea), and
  • cramping.

These symptoms are nonspecific. This means that similar symptoms are seen in many different digestive disorders. They do not necessarily mean that a person has diverticulosis. If an individual has these symptoms, he or she should see a health-care professional.

Diverticulitis is a more serious condition and causes symptoms in most people with the condition that include:

  • pain in the abdomen, usually in the lower left side;
  • bleeding, bright red or maroon blood may appear in the stool, in the toilet (a symptom of rectal bleeding), or on the toilet paper. Bleeding is often mild and usually stops by itself; however, it can become severe;
  • fever;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • chills; and
  • constipation (less often, diarrhea).

If diverticulitis is not treated promptly it can develop some very serious complications. A complication is suggested by any of the following symptoms:

  • worsening abdominal pain;
  • persistent fever;
  • vomiting (no food or liquid can be tolerated);
  • constipation for an extended period of time;
  • burning or pain during urination; and
  • bleeding from the rectum.

When to Seek Medical Care for Diverticulitis

A person should see a health-care professional if he or she has any of the following symptoms, which may indicate a serious condition:

  • persistent abdominal pain, often in the lower-left area of the abdomen;
  • persistent unexplained fevers;
  • persistent diarrhea;
  • persistent vomiting; or
  • persistent or recurring urinary tract infection.

Any time a person has bleeding from the rectum, he or she should see a health-care professional as soon as possible.

  • Seek medical care even if the bleeding stops on its own.
  • Bleeding may be a sign of diverticulitis or other serious diseases.
  • If there is a lot of blood or a steady flow of blood, go to a hospital emergency department immediately.

The following symptoms suggest a complication and warrant an immediate visit to an emergency department:

  • worsening abdominal pain;
  • persistent fever with abdominal pain;
  • vomiting so severe that food or liquids cannot be tolerated;
  • swelling or distention of the abdomen;
  • persistent constipation for an extended period of time; or
  • severe pain or other symptoms that you had before when you had diverticulitis.

A person should not attempt to drive themselves to receive medical help, they should have someone else drive them, or call 911 for emergency medical transport.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/8/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis):

Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Symptoms

The symptoms of diverticulitis (diverticulosis) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) - Surgery Recovery

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Diverticulitis - Experience

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Diverticulitis - Diet

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Diverticulitis »

Diverticula are small mucosal herniations protruding through the intestinal layers and the smooth muscle along the natural openings created by the vasa recta or nutrient vessels in the wall of the colon.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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