February 14th, 2011

Can colonoscopy cause diverticulitis?

Many of you out there have done many tens of thousands of colonoscopy like I have and are well aware of the complications most known to be associated with this procedure, like bleeding or perforation. And most of us are aware of very unusual complications that have been reported, such as splenic lacerations or barotraumas.

However, I recently had a patient develop acute diverticulitis within 24 hours of colonoscopy, and I have consulted in the last year on another patient who developed diverticulitis shortly after the procedure.

Although diverticulitis precipitated by colonoscopy prep or the procedure itself (microperforation from the bowel prep, pressure from the shaft of the instrument or air infused during the procedure, etc.) is plausible, there seems to be little in the literature on this subject.

One reason for the lack of data might be that there is not really an association, that these are two unrelated events. Another might be that because diverticulitis is not immediately evident (like bleeding or perforation), the causal link has been missed, given that delayed complications are not often reported in large series of procedures.

So I am asking you endoscopists out there:
1) Have you observed diverticulitis in a patient shortly after a colonoscopy?
2) Do you think the procedure can cause diverticulitis?
3) If so, what do you think the mechanism is for this complication?

I look forward to hearing from you.

50 Responses to “Can colonoscopy cause diverticulitis?”

  1. Ms. Kamal Heer says:

    I am a consultant colorectal surgeon, thus tend to see more of the complications that may not present immediately. In 6 years, I am aware of at least 2 cases where diverticulitis has followed colonoscopy. However, both were in cases of severe diverticulosis, where a neoplasia could not be ruled out on imaging. This is in a unit that performs over 6,000 colonoscopies a year, so I feel this complication must be considered in perspective. Both were in patients where IBS appeared to co-exist, as pain was a common symptom with bloating and loose stools, even theough there was no stricutre formation. To be sure the relationship truly exists, one would have to perform inflammatory markers as a minimum everytime a patients complains of post-procedure pain; and we know how non-specific that is! Considering the management of diverticulitis in the overwhelming majority of cases is conservative, the discussion may remain purely speculative, though one can easily guess the mechanisms, which would be similar to those of both conditions being induced mechanically.

  2. Eric Wollins says:

    Just had a case last week. Average risk screening colonoscopy. Had left sided diveticulosis. No polpys seen. No biopsies taken. 24 hours after the procedure developed fevrs, chills,left lower quadrant pain. AXR was normal. CT scan with possible diverticulitis. My first suspected case.

  3. s.anten says:

    2)don’t know
    3)don’t know

  4. DR. KHALID ALAUFI says:


  5. Sandy Wilborn says:

    I have had at least two patients develop diverticulitis within a few days after colonoscopy. In one case I suspected that the patient had mild or early diverticulitis at the time of the procedure, and that probably the mechanical trauma of the scope made it worse (edema? microperforation?). In the other case, I had no such suspicion. I have performed about 9000 colonoscopies over 20 years.

  6. Wolfgang Mohl says:

    Dear Dr. Fennerty,

    Some years ago when I was a consultant at a local GI unit I treated a female patient which developed a diverticulitis the day after an ambulatory colonoscopy in a nearby private practice.
    We discussed damages and microbial invasion caused by air pressure (in a patient with a rectosigmoidal high pressure zone, as usual in diverticulosis) and mucosal tears caused by the manipulation as possible mechanisms.
    The patient recovered quickly on antibiosis and was released on the third day.

    But – to be honest – its the one and only case I remember in 16 years in GI Medicine (with 2 cases of splenic rupture) – so regarding the high incidence of diverticulosis, I don’t know, if there is really an association.

  7. Isabelle von Althen says:

    I also had a case of CT documented diverticulitis. The patient was a 60 year old female who was noted on her screening to have sigmoid diverticuli. There was no inflammation at the time and she had taken the Nulytly prep. She was admitted the day after the colonoscopy with abdominal pain. My initial concern was perforation but the procedure had been easy and I had not taken any biopsies. She did well but I also was surprised that the procedure seemed to have been responsible for her diverticulitis.

  8. Brian: No cases of diverticulitis after over 15,000 colonoscopies, but some cases of LLQ pain in those with extensive sigmoid diverticula. Diverticular disease is likely inflammatory in origin with augmented neuromuscular hypersensitivity leading to increased colonic wall pressure forcing the formation of diverticula. Recent studies strongly suggest that reducing inflammation with low dose mesalamine in those who had hemorrhage or diverticulitis had a major reduction in subsequent episodes of either event. I have often noted that the diagnosis based solely on CT findings is very soft, so that some of the observations may be overstated. by the way, my website gut-check.com haas existed since 1997 and has a URL and a trade mark.

  9. Joseph D Hillam says:

    Having done colonoscopies in a small community for 34 years where I have been well aware of patient complications I have never seen diverticulitis develop following a colonoscopy. I have seen cases of undiagnosed diverticulitis at colonoscopy. I have found this inspite of seeing patients prior to all exams, suggesting that mild diverticulosis may not be highly symptomatic.

  10. 1) never. 2) yes 3)because microperforation by air insuflation

  11. Crenshaw MD says:

    I am an Internist with “mild” diverticulosis. I developed diverticulitis 2 months after colonoscopy but in retrospect had been ill with GI complaints and maliase within 2 weeks of the procedure. Related? Maybe. Certainly there is mechanism that could be responsible-micro trauma. Are we missing mild cases that self resolve? I honestly have never thought there was an association before and the literature doesn’t indicate that there is.

  12. sterle says:

    In 3o years I don´t remember one case.

  13. Anne Epstein says:

    I am a general internist. I had one case of a patient developing liquid stools and abdominal pain 3 days after a colonoscopy done by a gastroenterologist. He presented to me because he was unsatisfied with the response of his gastroenterologist, who treated him with anti-diarrheals and spasmolytics. Rectal exam by me revealed tenderness and guaiac positive stool. Stool cultures were negative and abdominal x-ray was unrevealing. He responded rapidly to antibiotics. No other diagnostic information is available.

  14. This board needs people, not doctors to tell you that a colonoscopy is responsible for many flareups of diverticulitis. I have never had problems with bowel movements or pain until 2 weeks after my first colonoscopy at 66 years old. Since then, for the past year I have not gotten back to normal with soft bowels, gas, and horrible bloating. I can’t eat a tablespoon of food without my stomach swelling to capacity. This was the worst test I have ever had and will never repeat it unless blood is coming out of my orifices. There is nothing I can do to get back to normal and I feel like I will suffer from this condition for the rest of my life. So sorry I ever had this done.

  15. John Iliya MD says:

    I performed a colonoscopy with polypectomy of a small rectal polyp 6 days ago on a 51 year old male with diffuse diverticulosis and remote appendectomy. He had no complaints until yesterday when he developed abdominal pain which today localized to the right abdomen. He moved slowly, but did not appear ill. Temp was nl. He had tenderness in the lateral right abdomen at the level of the umbilicus with some intermittent voluntary guarding. Cbc nl. APCT showed cecal and ascending colon wall thickening with inflammatory changes in the surrounding fatty tissue without free or localized extraluminal air. I suspect this is right sided diverticulitis. Remnant appendicitis is possible. A small perforation is possible, but I would have expected sxs sooner than 5 days. In any event I cannot rule out that I caused this problem. Any thoughts?

  16. TlS says:

    I am an internist who had her first colonoscopy today (age 51). After clear liquid diet for two days and a split dose of Suprep, I developed a slight fever 99.8 and no other symptoms. The test today revealed moderate diverticulosis in ascending, descending and sigmoid colon. I am home tonight with fever and chills and some boosting…maybe dome very very mild llq discomfort but not pain. No abdominal pain, bleeding or nausea. I am resting drinking cool water and have a heating pad on my tummy. If this gets worse, I will call my doctor or head back to the hospital.

  17. Jeff Sanders MD says:

    I have seen a couple of cases where pt’s have had no diverticular disease seen at the time of colonoscopy only to be diagnosed with diverticulitis a short while later. (one was a few weeks later, one was a pt in their 30′s on a high fiber (almost vegetarian) diet who had an episode 2 years later. I have been wondering if the increased wall pressure from insufflation can cause diverticulosis. I don’t know of any literature on the subject, either.

  18. Gary Cowen,MD says:

    I have never had a case of known diverticulitis following a colonoscopy in over 30 years of practice as a Gastroenterologist. But considering how many colonoscopies are now being done and the number of people with diverticular disease, I’m surprised it is not more common just by both things occuring at the same time. The association of colonoscopy and following diverticulitis may not be causal but only temporal. I have had at least 10 episodes of a procedure being cancelled because of consent problems or patient refusal and in the time period for the procedure or several hours later the patient had a MI, stroke, or other serious problem. Surely, if the procedure had been done, the MI or stroke would have been noted as a complication. Just because something happens just afterwards does not mean it is as a result of.

  19. Sara Gordon says:

    I am a registered nurse and have noticed two cases in which pt’s who had a colonoscopy (with results showing diverticulosis) ended up hospitalized for diverticulitis within a week. Question for you physicians is… would it be the physician’s technique?

  20. Carol - Patient says:

    I had a “routine” colonoscopy age 53 … a week later I was in the hospital with acute diverticulitis (low in the abdomin) I had 3 polyps removed during the colonoscopy and the report said that there was “NO” divericuli (divericitosis). This was about 3 months ago. I am starting to experience pain again (alittle higher up the abdomin) The pain is not as “intense” as before.
    They did a CAT scan to determine the diverticulitis at the hospital. How can they differ from one another in one (1) week ?????

  21. Lee Sweet says:

    I had a colonoscopy which was the most painful experience. Shortly after developed diverticulitis. The GI said he had never seen such a mess of intestines .. going all over the place. Question to GI’s would this mess not show up b4 the procedure? Could the pain been avoided by the GI putting me out since he must have seen the mess. He described the procedure as Treacherous.. sure was.

  22. Cathy says:

    I am in the hospital right now. The first thing I thought when the doctor said I had diverticulitis, was, I just had a colonoscopy, what went wrong? The doctor who performed the colonoscopy removed 1 polyp, and said I have diverticulosis, he recommend that I add fiber to my diet, and come back in 3 years,(since he removed the polyp),

    I didn’t have to get a colonoscopy, I’m 52 years old, my doctors mentioned that I should because of my age. I compared it to getting a mammogram, to catch problems at an early stage.

    5 weeks later, my lower abdomen hurt really bad, I thought it could be my appendix, the pain became so severe, I went to the ER and after a CT scan, was told it was diverticulitis. I’ve been laying in the hospital, in pain, IV anti-biotics (Flagyl and Leviquin), no food, water, nothing by mouth, thinking what the heck happened, something is not right. I found this website and I don’t really want to read too many stories, just wanted to add my comment since I have this question on my mind while I’m laying in the hospital, hoping I have a speedy recovery.

  23. irene says:

    4 wks ago I had a colonoscopy and a sessile polyp removed. I was back in hospital within 36 hours of the colonoscopy, given anti-biotics intravenously. This was a query perforated bowel. I had had an earlier colonoscopy which detected diverticulitis. This was news to me though I had had IBS for many years. I think a lot of research needs to be done on this topic as people’s lives are being put at risk. As yet I am still recovering.

  24. Pierre says:

    I just experienced a case of a Crohn’s patient, with a follow-up colonoscopy for longstanding disease, in remission on Methotrexate. I performed a right-sided polypectomy and chromoendoscopy-targetted biopsies. She had mild sigmoid diverticulosis. Tow days later she was admitted in a local hospital with acute abdominal pain, to rule out colonoscopy-related perf. It turned out she had a typical diverticulitis image on the CT-scan. Evolved favorably within 48 hours on iv antibitoics.
    This is the first case I am aware of this kind in my service. It could be related to microperf induced by distension due to the endoscope or the air, or through inflammation induced by the passage of the scope.

  25. Maggie Owens says:

    I am wondering if the age of the patient enters into the mix here. My mother had a colonoscopy in her late 70s. They found no polyps but she has been complaining of stomach problems and loose stools ever since. Now at age 87, after being hospitalized for congestive heart failure, she presented with upper and lower GI issues. She has been readmitted to the hospital because she stopped eating, has been suffering terrible diarrhea, and is generally lethargic. A scan revealed blockage in the colon. So, today, she is scheduled to undergo yet another colonoscopy! I am trying to weigh all factors in this matter. Why was a woman close to 80 years old made to undergo her first colonoscopy, if this was to be the result? So much for HER quality of life. “First do no harm” indeed.

  26. Karin Myers says:

    I am 69 female. Had diverticulitis Sept.2012 and Jan. 2013 dx via CAT-Scan.
    Rx antibiotic regimen both times. GI scheduled colonoscopy next week. I asked him to look at the CAT-Scans, he refused to look. I am very apprehensive and not sure if I should have this Colonoscopy done. Stool was not checked for occult blood. Please, I need advice. Thank you.

  27. Orville says:

    I had a colonoscopy about 5 months ago and had a polyp removed, everything else was fine, never had any issues prior to my colonoscopy. Two weeks ago I end up in the emergency room with severe pain, diarrhea, bloody stools. They said I had an infection in my colon, gave me antibiotics, felt better. Went to the Dr. for a follow-up and they tell me I have diverticulitis. I believe it was definately caused from the colonoscopy.

  28. Frankie says:

    I had abdominal surgery to repair colon/intestinal adhesions and blockage a couple of years ago. The only symptoms I had had before sugery was loose stools and pelvic floor pain. After surgery I developed typical symptoms of diverticulitis that I’ve had ever since. I finally reached a point where it seemed to calm down . Then, after getting a CT scan for a tailbone issue my doctor told me I was constipated. I took a mild laxative (epsom salts) which worked great (no pain) and within days the diverticulitis symptoms came back with a vengeance and have stayed. I believe that the sudden cleaning out of the bowel irritated it severely. Since then I have started drinking raw milk, taking probiotics and drinking slippery elm bark tea. It seems to be really helping. One other thing. No doctor tells you that when you take antibiotics, the good bacteria necessary for healthy bowels are killed off along with the bad bacteria and that you really need to take probiotics to get the balance back. Why not?

  29. I Rishguy says:

    I am a 57 year old male who had one polyp removed during my first colonoscopy about 6 years ago. As a result I was scheduled for another colonoscopy 3 years ago & the diagnosis was that I had diverticulitis. My Bm’s were normal before the second colonoscapy but were certainly not after my second colonoscopy. I am glad I do not have colon cancer but diverticulitis is no laughing matter.

  30. Amy uppinghouse says:

    Today is wed and on monday I started the prep for a colonoscopy. My son ended up getting sick so I had to reachedule my colonoscopy. Tonight I ended up with a diverticulitis flare up. Oh the cramping!! I havent ate anything bad and just lowered my fiber for the procedure so the only thing I can think of is the prep had to irritate it. Any info would be great.

  31. W. G. says:

    I never had any issues at all before having my colonoscopy. This colonscopy was done as my first screening. By the following morning I had severe, lower left quadrant pain. I ended up in the ER, 2 days later. Testing found nothing. It has been 8 yrs. and I am still dealing with the pain, it comes and goes. I have seen 5 different doctors and had many tests….no reason can be found for the pain. This was the worse thing I have agreed to do. I will never have another colonoscopy unless I am hemorraging.

  32. Barb Frahm says:

    I am a patient. I had a colonoscopy on May 21. The doctor removed 1 polyp and said everything was fine. This was my second colonoscopy, my first being 10 years ago. Two weeks later I was in the ER and diagnosed with diverticulitis. Me and my body feel pretty sure there is a connection. What I know is that unlike the first time, my bowels have not worked normally since this colonoscopy. I feel like my colon is just sluggish. Moderate constipation, irregularity. My diet always includes fruits and vegetables. I just cannot seem to get back to my normal. Now, I am back on a liquid diet and antibiotics. I am more concerned that even when the infection is cleared up that my bowels are still not going to get back to normal.

  33. R. Pettigrew says:

    Had severe diverticulitis about 16 years ago and was hospitalized. I/V antibiotics resolved the situation. Still had frequent (generalized) abdominal pain and diarrhea. GI doc performed colonoscopy and noted numerous diverticlu, and colitis. After undergoing numerous courses of different drugs to no avail, colon resection was discussed. I quickly fled to do my own research, and with the help of tests offered by Dr. Kenneth Fine (finerhealth.com)I very shortly thereafter went on a gluten-free diet, which resolved my condition completely. A much later colonoscopy/biopsy performed by the same GI doc confirmed I was now asymptomatic of the colitis.

    Fast forward to Feb. 2013: New healthcare provider. Positive fecal occult blood test led to colonoscopy w/biopsy of an “inverted diverticulum”, which the GI doc was guessing the subject of the biopsy to be. Also noted were internal hemmorhoids, very likely the source of the blood. Two weeks later, eruption of divertiulitus that ebbed and flowed for 2 more months and 3 courses (one extended course) of cipro and flagyl. Wound up in the hospital for 6 days and again I/V antibiotics. CT scan noted 2 cm. abscess and likely perforation. Been home now for 3 weeks w/mild llq pain still present on a low fiber, darn near liquid diet. Surgeons want to resect/remove my Sigmoid Colon in July, which I’m not keen on having done, but I’m living in fear of non-elective emergency surgery (colostomy, etc) if this goes acute again. Nice choice, eh? IMHO: Either one or all of the steps involved in the colonoscopy (bowel cleansing, insufflation, biopsy, possible dirty scope)CAUSED this situation; and yes indeed, there is a distinct link between colonoscopy and diverticulitis, and much, much worse. Any feedback by knowledgeable people or doctors to help me avert the looming surgery would be very much appreciated.

  34. Robert S. Davis says:

    I, too, developed diverticulitis within 2 days after colonoscopy and again 6 months later; both times, Rx was antibiotics with diet restrictions. Although most reports, above, fail to connect diverticulitis with colonoscopy, annecdotal evidence may indicate a degree of correlation, especially in those patients with diverticulosis prior to the procedure. Perhaps Dr.s should perform some preliminary examination to ascertain potential for diverticulitis prior to procedure.

  35. Dave says:

    Hello i am currently a patient with diverticulitis. My first attack was perforated, i was treated in the hospital for about a week with antibiotics, sent home on antibiotics for one more week, the following week i had another infection and went back to the hospital for 5 days. Again treated with antbiotics, this time sent home with a pic line and a tpn bag for 2 weeks no solid food or water. Everythings been fine for about 2 months since then until i got a colonoscopy done this past wednesday. Immediately following the procedure I am back to having harsh pains in my abdomen and developed a fever last night, to which i had another scrip for antibiotics phoned in and am currently taking. Dont know why im writing this in here its just the first time ive come across something that sounds like what is happening to me. By the way i should also mention I am a 32 yr old male, have been 100% healthy up until this happened, never been to a hospital or have any other history of illnessess other then common colds and occasional flu like everyone else.

  36. M. Frazier says:

    Dr. Fennerty, I do not know how this website works or how the comments left for you are processed but, I am hoping to hear from you directly. I will not mention names or locations of GI office nor after treatment facilities. I had colonoscopy May 6, 2013. The prep name I Can not remember but, was a two part series. Powdered (lemon) flavored 1 gallon jug. Mix with water and refrig. followed prep exactly. started prep at 4:pm 5-5-13.although by 11:oopm I felt like stopping due to irritation to anal area but, did continue the course. Had last bowel movement around 3:45am May 6, 2013. Check in was at 6:45am. After procedure I was told by Dr. “looks Great” except for Small grade 1 non bleeding internal hemorrhoids. His report and pictures mentioned nothing regarding Diverticulitis? Post recovery was followed! I did decide to start out slow on the 7th and 8th. My diet was back to normal by around the 11th and stools were back to normal and at normal time in the mornings. 5 weeks later on the evening of 6-11-13, I began feeling a dull pain just below and just under my left rib cage. I thought this was just and overdose of a new recipe we ate for dinner that night and consisted of Quinoa (grain), black beans, Fresh dice tomatoes, onions topped with mild cheddar cheese werved on corn tortilla. I ended up going to urgent care the next day and discussed this with urgent care Dr next day. Don’t get the wrong impression by my last comment I do not overeat. I weight 158 lbs. 5′- 10″. She confirmed WHAT I ate the night before, and agreed this was the probable cause although I still questioned both my thoughts and hers as I have always had an iron stomach. I did take it easy for the next few days with no resolve. I re-visited urgent care 6-16,2013. explained to attending Dr. and according to symtoms I was diagnosed with Diverticulitis. Was placed on Brat diet 3 days,Ciprofloxacin 500mg 2/day for 14 days, Metronidozole 500mg 2/day for 14 days and Lactinex tab 50tab bottle. 4tabs chew 4/day. I finished the Lactinex on Thursday 6-20-13. I began to feel better on 6-19-13. then on 6-21-13 the same type pain starting coming back, not as strong but is still there today 6-23-13. I mention all of this to you because I investigated the symtoms of Diverticulitis online and somehow got the impression that it could have been brought on by the Colonoscopy??? then, Somehow I ended up at your site and reviewed your requests from other GI Doctors and comments left by others so, here is my information and I TRULY hope you can at least guide me or suggest what my next step should be.
    M. Frazier

  37. S. Harrisson says:

    I am 65 yo woman with a past history of ulcerative Colitis, which has be sucessfully managed with diet. Have had two colonoscopies in the past 15 years with no evidence of diverticulosis or need for a biopsy. Had screening colonoscopy on 06/27/13. Finding some mild diverticulosis and several biopsies done. Two days later developed severe pain lower left quadrant with a low grade fever. Emergency room visit and cat scan revealed Diverticulitis and put on Cipro and Flagyl for ten days plus a low fibre diet during recovery. It is good to see other reports of this kind because the emergency Doc had never heard of colonoscopy causing diverticulitis. Now, I have to say there will be NO more colonoscopies!

  38. pam says:

    I had a colonoscopy 3 months ago and was in a week of having it develop symptoms of diverticulitis.and now no matter what I eat after I eat I start to get the spasms and pain. and it specially at night they grow more intense and painful so difficult to deal with I end up holding my stomach and just having to wait it out. I’ve been to my doctor and she gave me medicine for stomach pain and told me that I might have to like this from the colonoscopy. or diverticulitis. its limited my ability to be able to eat certain foods at all I have to stay away from grains and seeds I cannot eat popcorn and I can’t eat anything after a certain time or I will be in ridiculous pain. I will never get another colonoscopy again

  39. Julie says:

    Had a colonoscopy April 28, 2013. Found mild diverticulosis. Have had 2 cases of diverticulitis since. June 20, 2013, and July 14, 2013! Cipro & Metro both times!

  40. V Howard says:

    I am a healthy non-obese active 58yo female – and just had my first screening colonoscopy on 5/22/13. Given a clean bill of health except for noted diverticular disease throughout. No polyps. No inflammation.
    My bowels had been absolutely fine (symptom-wise) prior to this test with only some random loose stools with certain foods once in a great while.
    Well immediately after resuming a normal diet post procedure my stools were diarrhea – constantly. It was horrible. Worse than with the prep. No one warned me about either.
    Eating a bland diet that included daily yogurt seemed to help ease that some, and by end of June I was returning to normal. I just assumed that my natural flora had been disturbed by the test.
    Then a little over a week ago I noticed bright red blood in the toilet with my stool.
    Right. Great.
    This has repeated itself several times since then. No pain abdominally or rectally.
    I have no hemorrhoids to my knowledge.
    Stool is normal. My diet includes roughage & plenty of water.
    I am going to make an appointment with my PCP this week to discuss this but haven’t panicked due to knowing about the diverticular disease & not feeling ill or light headed, and also knowing my recent scope was essentially negative for anything serious.
    But I am annoyed & bummed out and wish there was a less invasive way to screen for colon cancer than probing around inside places that are doing just fine.
    I’m glad to see this forum and to learn that there are some actual professional and clinical concerns – in addition to what all the patients are and have been saying.
    I am an RN and I have often wondered why certain areas of medicine leap forward with less invasive or painful ways to detect, while others do not.
    Do not even get me started on mammograms.
    It is a shame that in order to determine if my bowel had cancer or signs of per-cancer, a disease that was not bothering me before had to become ‘stirred up’ and is now something I have to deal with. GI world – lets please move into the future with our diagnostic tools and tests!

  41. david says:

    this makes seance.i have been suffering from this condishion all the way back from 18yrs old when i hade my frist colonoscopy.im 45 now and for years thay could not tell me what was wrong with me now thay dinose me with diverticuliltis
    i have been sufering off and on for a long time now we are starting to get some answers.

  42. Joanne says:

    My father recently had second colonoscopy last year and six months later was rushed to hospital with a perforated bowel caused from untreated diverticulitis.
    My husband is 56 years old and had his first routine colonscopy approx 3 months ago. He had one polyp removed and at the time there was no sign of any inflammation. He has just been hospitilised with diverticulitis and will be in for 3 days. He has not previously had any intestinal issues.
    Very coincidental that both men ended up with this less than 6 months after their procedures and yet both of them were told by their doctors that the diverticulitis was not related to their colonoscopies. I am convinced that it is related.

  43. Carrie says:

    Had my second colonoscopy mid-August, 2 weeks before my daughter’s wedding and had one polyp removed. Started noticing symptoms of lower abdominal pain and generally not feeling well within a week, but thought at first it was the stress of wedding planning, then being exhausted once it was over. Remember walking through the house rubbing my belly like I was pregnant and saying “I just don’t feel right”. At the 5 week mark, I was admitted through the ER for 3 days with diverticulitis. Afterward, I started wondering if the polyp removal could be responsible, as I had never had an episode of diverticulitis before. This forum give credence to my thoughts. Thinking it’s NOT a coincidence!

  44. karen kramer says:

    I am 69. 2 years ago I had moderate cramping then slight pain in lower left abdomen with some nausea. I went to the ER and they did a catscan that showed diverticulitis. Usual treatment with Flagyl and Cipro. Did the liquid diet then moved on to the fiber. At my annual checkup my md of 14 years told me I should get a colonoscopy. I had a bladder infection about 2 weeks before my checkup. I had pain with it and another cat scan. Results said resolved diverticulitis? Urine showed bladder infection. Antibiotic was prescribed. Im not having the colonoscopy and my md has me on a great probiotic because I was so tired from the antibiotics and stress and just didn’t feel well. He did a stool sample for bood and it was negative. I will do that again for my annuals. No colonoscopy. Too dangerous and they cannot sterilize the camera the same way they do surgical instuments and that is probably why people have problems even months after this test. Feel great. Probiotics are wonderful.

  45. Karen Strand says:

    February 18 2014

    My colonoscopy showed nothing abnormal other than a few benign polyps that were removed. There were also “random colon biopsies” done of the lining.
    Two days later I began having lower abdominal cramping. This has continued every day since, for over two weeks. I’m wondering whether diverticulitis was caused by the procedure. I have an appointment set up.

  46. Matt Gair says:

    I just underwent my first colonoscopy at age 44 for family history / preventative check. Mild to moderate diverticulitis was identified, but I already it was there from a CT back in 2009. Within 24 hours I developed diverticulitis. symptoms cleared with homeopathic remedies in 4 days. Then, 2 weeks later full blown attack, and CT revealed diverticulitis.
    prescribed Levofloxacin (anti-anthrax drug) and Metronixdazole.
    I have never presented symptoms prior. I also had a CT performed in 2009 for a cardiology preventive check, and radiologist identified the Diverticulitis back then. My G-Ent doctor was aware of this.
    Question: if you already knew this would you still perform the scope and risk exacerbating the condition? I think the Surgery Prep alone probably exposed the tissue and caused the irritation all by itself let alone the scope compounding matters. Look forward to your feedback.

  47. Jim says:

    Diverticulitis runs in all of my family. For 53 years I ate as much as I wanted of whatever I wanted, could eat half a jar of nuts with no problem. When I had my first and only colonoscopy at 53, the doc said I had lots of diverticula and he had to work hard to clean it out. The diverticula were caked full and smooth and did not clean out during prep. Since the colonoscopy, I get bouts of Diverticulitis ever 2 weeks to 2 months. I can’t even look at a bun with sesame seeds. If I had it to do over, I would never have the colonoscopy.

  48. Richard says:

    Three years ago, I had a routine colonoscopy. It was my third screening in 15 years, no polyps nor other abnormalities were cited. However, the day after that last screening, I had a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. I dismissed it, thinking it was just some left over air from the procedure. I had never even heard of diverticulitis prior to that, but since then, I’ve had three excruciating attacks. I’m just recovering from the most recent attack, and am convinced that the last screening caused my condition. I doubt I have recourse, as proof wouldn’t be conclusive, but I have certainly lost confidence in this procedure and will never have it performed again.

  49. Ali says:

    I came across this discussion whilst trying to find a reason why (after having a Colonoscopy for the first time), I have pain in both my left and right side. I’ve found this discussion most informative so thought I would mention my situation from a patients point of view.
    I had my Colonoscopy a little under 3 weeks ago due to bleeding. No biopsies were taken, no polyps were found but I was found to have internal Haemorrhoids that had caused the bleeding. However, they did discover I had mild Diverticulitis. I felt fine following the procedure and even the day after felt pretty good. By the third day, I had terrible nausea and pain in both my left and right sides, near my rib cage and also in my lower back directly opposite to the pain in the front. The nausea lasted exactly 7 days and I barely ate a thing in that time but never actually vomited. Although the pain is slowly dissipating and is nowhere near as bad as it was, I am still very tender in my sides and still feel quite bloated at times and my stomach can feel incredibly hard. It does still hurt a little to lay in bed on either my left of right side. In my opinion, the Colonoscopy has indeed caused a flare up of my previously undetected Diverticulitis which had never, ever given me any issues up until post Colonoscopy. I’ve been told to have another one done in 7 years when I’m 50 years of age but I must admit I won’t be too keen to do so!!

  50. Richard says:

    Update to my previous post – I have just obtained the reports from that last screening, which, as it turns out, does cite “scattered diverticula” and recommends a high fiber diet. At the time, the doctor’s report to me was a verbal one, and had he mentioned diverticula, I would certainly have paid attention. Further, one would think he’d have explained the seriousness of this disease in detail.

Leave a Reply

Note: This is a moderated forum. By clicking on the "Submit Comment" button below, you agree to abide by the NEJM Journal Watch Terms of Use.

Our physician bloggers cannot respond to requests for personal medical advice, and recommend patients discuss health issues with their individual physicians.

Gastroenterology Research: Author M. Brian Fennerty, M.D.

M. Brian Fennerty, MD


NEJM Journal Watch Gastroenterology

Biography | Disclosures | Summaries

Learn more about Gut Check on Gastroenterology.