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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: diverticular disease?

 army_chick - Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:18 pm

I have been a heavy drinker for more than 3 years. I have quit here and there for a week or a month, but generally I would drink 4-5x/wk. Last week, I drank vodka Wednesday night (about 1/2 a fifth altogether). I felt ok Thursday (except a small hangover). Friday, I began feeling a stomach ache below my belly button. It felt like I had gas or needed to have a bowel movement. Saturday, I had not yet had a BM, so I opted to take some Phillips milk of magnesia. I had a BM soon after with a small amount of bright red blood. I have noticed blood before in my stool here and there, but not all the time. Other than that, the BM was regular. Sunday, I had diarrhea (I assume this was leftover from the Phillips) and went to the movie and pigged out on buttery popcorn. The pain in my stomach continued throughout this time.

Monday, the pain was annoying me greatly so I went to an urgent care center (I don't have medical insurance). I rated my tummy ache a 3 or 4 out of 10. They tested my urine and my leukocytes was 500 and ketones was 15. I also had a slight fever that ranged from 99.4-100 (they took it twice) They thought due to the pressure and pain my lower abdomen, I may have a UTI and gave me Cipro (500mg x 2x daily). Tuesday, I finally had another BM and it had blood in it as well. this time, it was like a line down my stool. Not a large line, but it was noticed and still bright red. After the BM, I felt very sick to my stomach. This subsided after an hour or so.

Wednesday, I was noticing my stomach was hurting less (still hurting though, usually in the middle of the day and before bed - especially right after eating) but I was feeling my organs having spasms every-so-often. And I would feel a slight pain in the lower left quadrant where I know the large intestine is located. I also felt burning every so often, usually before I would feel hungry again. Finally, I noticed that my resting HR was around 105, which is unusually high for me (except back when I was taking Dexedrine for narcolepsy, which I don't take anymore by choice).

Today I feel the same as yesterday, only now I also feel a slight tightness in my chest and occasional pains. I had another BM with no blood in it, but it was a terrible strain to have it and it wasn't normal size, smaller stools as if there's some type of blockage. My appetite has been terrible since last Friday - I was barely able to eat 500 calories/day until Tuesday). I feel horribly bloated.

I have followed the urgent care dr's instructions and abstained from milk products, caffeine, pasta, etc. I am greatly concerned about my heart at this point and not sure when to suck it up and visit the ER. I have read extensively about diverticulitis, but haven't been able to find much about when it's serious enough that it could be fatal. I'm not looking for a diagnosis per se over the internet, I realize that's impossible with the legalities involved. But any advice on what to do, when/if to go, how I can help myself would be GREATLY appreciated. I am young (late 20's), I have made some VERY poor choices for my health (eg. drinking) and believe me, I haven't drank since last Wednesday and I don't intend to ever again. This has scared the heck out of me. Thank you for your time.
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:41 pm

User avatar Hi,
Although your symptoms could be due to diverticular disease, other conditions also need to be considered, two in paricular- Hemorrhoids and a rectal polyp.

Hemorrhoids also manifest by passage of bright red blood, typically following a bowel movement(a 'splash in the pan'). it is possible that the hemorrhoids might have been preexisting and perhaps got aggravated by the episode of diarrhea.

Hyperplastic polyps are fairly common in adults and have a very low risk of malignancy.The risk of malignancy increases if they have an adenomatous component.

Multiple hyperplastic polyps(hyperplastic polyposis): these occur in relatively young individuals. These polyps are commonly > 50 in number, frequently larger in size and are evenly distributed throughout the large bowel.Malignant potential is higher if they have an adenomatous component.

Colonic Polyps may remain asymptomatic, or sometimes are known to cause bleeding or acute abdominal pain. they can form a lead point for an intussusception, causing acute pain and passage of blood stained stool.

Therefore, it is best to consult your regular doctor initially to exclude these and other possibilities as well.
Best wishes!

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