Diverticulitis - Exams and Tests
Your doctor will
take a history and do a physical exam if
diverticulitis is suspected. Depending on your
symptoms, you may have one or more tests to rule out other medical problems
that could be causing your symptoms. The extent of testing will depend on how
bad your symptoms are and how long they have lasted.
These tests may be done any time
you see your doctor about abdominal pain or other symptoms.
Tests done as needed
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may want to do one or more of
computed tomography (CT) scan may be done if symptoms
suggest you have a pocket of infection (abscess) in your abdomen or that a
pouch (diverticulum) has burst. The scan also can reveal other possible causes
of your symptoms.
barium enema X-ray may be used to show
diverticula or other possible causes of your symptoms.
But a barium enema X-ray usually is not done while you are having an attack of
diverticulitis because of the risk that the barium might spill into the
peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) if you
have a perforation. A material that performs a function similar to barium but
that can dissolve in water (water-soluble contrast) may be used instead.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy and
colonoscopy may be used if your main symptom is
bleeding from the intestine. These tests also may be done to look for narrow
spots or growths in the intestine and to rule out
ulcerative colitis or cancer. But sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are not usually done while you are having an attack of
diverticulitis because of the risk that the scope could tear the lining of the colon (perforation). If this happens, the infection could spill into the
peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity). This would cause a more serious infection.