Because diverticula by themselves usually don't cause problems, most people learn they have diverticulosis during routine screening examinations for colorectal cancer or during tests that check for other intestinal problems. Diverticulitis, on the other hand, is usually diagnosed during an acute attack. Because abdominal pain can indicate a number of problems, your doctor will have to rule out other causes for your pain, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach ulcers
- Pregnancy outside of the uterus (ectopic)
- Colon cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Ischemic colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
To diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain, your doctor will likely:
May. 21, 2011
- Examine your abdomen for tenderness.
- Check your white blood cells for signs of infection.
- Order an imaging test, such as a CT scan, to help visualize the pouches that are inflamed or infected. A CT scan uses a series of computer-directed X-rays to provide a comprehensive view of your internal organs.
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/diverticulosis.pdf. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Touzios JG, et al. Diverticulosis and acute diverticulitis. Gastroenterology Clinic of North America. 2009;38:513.
- Jacobs DO. Clinical practice: Diverticulitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;357:2057.
- Strate LL, et al. Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:907.
- Diverticulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec02/ch019/ch019c.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Narula N, et al. Role of probiotics in management of diverticular disease. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2010;25:1827.
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