I had a recent ER visit because I got quite violently ill. It seemed like an extremely severe IBS flare since I do have IBS-D. But that has been fairly controlled since I have gone on a very high fiber diet so it was very painful and extreme for no reason I could determine. I am used to extremely painful IBS flares from time to time for actual Reasons. But not this.

It was the sort of flare that is not only severe in pain level but also extreme in symptoms so you know you are getting dehydrated fast… no matter how much water you drink. Also the sort of flare that makes you feel like you are actually going to pass out. Your skin gets clammy, your ears hot, and vision stars to black out and you feel light-headed. So you have to literally lay down as quickly as possible so you don’t pass out- between going to the bathroom, which means going back and forth quite a bit and on the cusp of blacking out a lot.

And every time I ate- it started all over again. But even after the flare ended I still had abdominal pain remain which was weird (just not the insanely severe cramping pain). And even more weird was the fact that along with it all came a whole lot of blood. I know, TMI. But really that is the whole point of why I ended up in the ER. Pain itself wouldn’t have done that. And that was pretty freaky, especially since this event kept going for more than a few days.

Sudden onset diverticulitis abdominal pain led to an ER visit

To go to the ER or not?

I had no idea if this was an ER thing… or wait a few weeks to see a doctor thing. So I called the line on the phone where you talk to a nurse and ask just those sorts of questions. Being chronically ill it is really hard to gauge how serious things are when you tend to try and ignore things until they go away or do the ‘wait and see’ approach’ but this seemed questionable… so I called.

She said I was likely dehydrated, possibly had issues due to blood loss and likely had some sort of inflammation going on so I had best go to the ER.

So I went even though I absolutely hate going there for any reason at all. But I admit I was getting pretty sick. I was extremely tired. And dizzy. (more so than usual. Like the black out sort of dizzy, not my ‘woozy’ sort of dizzy).

I was in the ER for some time. And due to COVID-19 mostly by myself since they don’t typically allow visitors. But since I went in and none of my family heard from me this sort of freaked everyone out. To be honest, I really was extremely tired and being in the ER gave me a migraine over top of everything else.

As soon as they gave me a bed and hooked me up to fluids I tried to get some sleep. In the sense that it was very hard to stay awake. But it was also very hard to sleep given to environment. So I was sort of just coasting in almost sleep but not quite. But that is why I didn’t text anyone. I was just really not feeling well.

So eventually my spouse got home from work, and I was not there, nor had I texted. So he showed up at the ER concerned. They actually did let him in, which was nice. I was so ready to get out of there by then. I couldn’t yet so it was nice to have some company.

The diagnosis

The diagnosis due the the severity of symptoms, bleeding, and where the consistent pain was… was diverticulitis. It can’t be confirmed since they didn’t do any test that could confirm that. And it could have been some other sort of severe infection as well. So they treated both possibilities with 2 types of antibiotics, an anti-nausea med, and a muscle relaxant for internal muscles like the intestines. My doctor is going to do the tests necessary to confirm it is in fact diverticulitis or not… and to see exactly where all the blood Came from. Which seems prudent all things considered.

Diverticulitis

When you have diverticulitis, the inflamed pouches most often cause pain in the lower left side of your abdomen. The pain is usually severe and comes on suddenly, though it can also be mild and get worse over several days. The intensity of the pain can change over time.

NIDDK

may also cause

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • fevers and chills
  • nausea or vomiting

It tends to occur in people on a Low fiber diet which is the opposite of me. And in people with IBS-C… not IBS-D. But it is more common in people with IBS, so maybe it is. It does get more severe when you eat and definitely every time I ate I got severely ill all over again.

What are the symptoms of diverticular bleeding?

In most cases, when you have diverticular bleeding, you will suddenly have a large amount of red or maroon-colored blood in your stool.

Diverticular bleeding may also cause dizziness or light-headedness, or weakness. See your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

NIDDK

And this is what really made them all think it was this for me. I mean, otherwise, I have no idea what could have caused That. Even my bleeding ulcer from NSAIDs didn’t cause that. And in this case I did get dizziness and light-headed and weakness and extreme fatigue and sleepiness.

The problem with this whole damn thing

The ER doctor did not tell me I needed to go on a strict liquid diet while on the antibiotics to treat diverticulitis. He said I would feel better in 2 days. And that did not happen at all. I have just started feeling better yesterday.

I also was anemic because of the whole thing. So I have been extremely tired. And sleeping a whole lot. And I mean excessively. I think because of my existing fatigue combined with it just made it quite a bit more intense. But anemia combined with my already existing severe restless leg syndrome= my RLS going absolutely Nuts. So that meant a whole lot of medication to tame that. So I really hope this doesn’t become an issue in the future for sure.

All in all, I really felt rough. I think after the whole thing was over it was really just the intense weakness and fatigue from the anemia, to be honest. I just couldn’t get enough Sleep.

Either way, Do Not Recommend at all.

It reminded me of a prof. I had once who told me he had nearly died once from a bleeding ulcer. It had been bleeding internally so no way to know he was until it was Extremely Serious. That is the thing with abdominal pain really. I am very familiar with abdominal pain of all sorts and really, you just never really know the Cause of it… it is so ambiguous as to where the hell it is coming from and whether you should do anything about it. Especially if you have IBS and chronic pain … it is pretty easy to ignore pain. Even when you shouldn’t. In this case, obviously the one indicator I couldn’t ignore was the whole bleeding issue. Even I won’t ignore That symptom. Even I know things just don’t bleed without a reason.

Other posts

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4 thoughts on “Sudden onset diverticulitis abdominal pain led to an ER visit

    1. Yeah, this one really, really came as a surprise. A painful unexpected surprise. My doctor is going to do tests to confirm that is actually what it was which is good, because if so, apparently it can happen Again if that area gets an infection again. Not cool.

      Like

  1. I visited the ER only once in my life (after a car accident), and I waited four hours before the doctor gave me a glance and quickly dismissed me (within five minutes). No, ER is my least favorite place, and I hope you get well soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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