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Diverticulitis and antibiotics

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Old 12-07-2003, 09:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 8
dd78749 HB User
Diverticulitis and antibiotics

Hi everyone,

About two weeks ago I began noticing pain in my lower abdomen that extended into my lower left abdomen. I thought perhaps because I'd been having constipation problems, I'd take Milk of Magnesia and see if that helped. Of course, it cleaned me out and relieved the pressure but I still have a dull burning pain in my lower left abdomen, so I decided to go to the ER on Friday and the doctor diagnosed diverticulosis (not diverticulitis as he said that I didn't describe the pain as acute and increasing). They did the standard blood and urine workup and found no evidence of elevated white blood cells and everything else appeared normal. I didn't have a fever or chills or nausea or vomiting during any of this and still haven't, yet he prescribed two antibiotics (Flagyl and Levaquin) for me. In fact, he seemed a bit hesitant to do so but he said that this was standard protocol for this diagnosis and to try them and see if that didn't help. He also gave me a prescription for Vicodin too and to follow up with a doctor for a CT scan.

My question is this: is it prudent to take antibiotics for this when no evidence of infection exists? This doesn't seem right to me as I know that antibiotics are constantly overprescribed and even unnecessarily prescribed. My pain is dull and fluctuates (more intense when I need to have a BM or I'm gassy) and then other times hardly even noticeable at all. In fact, taking Tylenol clears the pain right up.

I have to confess that I also have anxiety and panic attacks so I'm extremely leary to taking medications that I've never used before, particularly antibiotics because of their potential for severe reactions.

I also read a report online that said that most cases of diverticulitis actually spontaneously resolve themselves over time and that no studies have ever been done to conclude that antibiotic therapy helps.

Maybe I'm just too cynical and paranoid, but I question anything that doctors want to put into me or do to me and research it until I can make an informed decision.

BTW, I have filled the prescriptions but there still sitting on my counter unused as I've not yet determined if I need them or if I feel comfortable enough to take them.

Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-07-2003, 10:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 118
fudd HB User
Re: Diverticulitis and antibiotics

Flagyl (metronidazole) is the gold standard for diverticulITIS. Abdominal pain with no signs of diverticulitis really does not require any medical management. However, you really do have to go in for that CT. Diverticula are usually left alone unless they become infected; however, periampullary and duodenal diverticula are sometimes associated with further complications (pancreatitis, inflammation of the gallbladder), and this can easily be picked up by imaging. Whether you take the antibiotics is really up to you, but for now, there is no infection to treat.

Old 12-09-2003, 03:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 14
MNangel HB User
Re: Diverticulitis and antibiotics

I'm really surprised that you were given Flagyl and Levaquin before even having a CT Scan. I had an attack of Diverticulitis and found out at the same time I have Diverticulosis. I had a CT Scan in ER and was admitted because I had a small absess. They may have been prescribed preventatively so that if there is inflammation it does not get worse until your CT Scan. Call your doc and ask more questions. If you would start running a fever I'd take the meds. Keep us posted. Good luck.

Last edited by MNangel; 12-09-2003 at 03:45 PM.

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