Gastroenterology Community
31.5k Members
Avatar universal

Misdiagnosed with Diverticulitis/Diverticular Disease

In early November, I was hospitalized for diverticulitis but after a colonoscopy on Wednesday revealed a completely normal, clear bowel, I'm left wondering what I actually had during my three day hospitalization.  Here is a breakdown of events leading to the hospitalization:

I started having mild sharp, stabbing pains in my lower left abdomen around June.  It was sparatic in nature and lasted for maybe a few minutes.  I assumed it was due to gas, constipation or womanly issues.  Over time, I became fatigued with no change in activity and/or diet, began getting headaches almost daily, felt bloated all the time, my clothes became tight (2 size difference), I gained 12 pounds in one month, no appetite, constant nausea, stomach and abdominal pain after eating, bouts of constipation alternating with diarrhea, no fever, no chills, no shortness of breath; just an overall feeling of blah.  The weekend of November 4th, the pain level and frequency increased to the point of unbearable at times.  I tried laxatives as I thought I was heavily constipated.  Not only did it not relieve the symptoms but I didn't even have a bowel movement (drank magnesium citrate).  I couldn't walk without feeling as though my entire abdomen was being ripped apart.  I called for an appointment with my doctor the next day, Monday the 7th.  I was able to see him that afternoon but he was almost two hours behind.  It was 530pm by the time I saw him and the only tests he did was a urinalysis.  He felt I had an ovarian cyst and scheduled an ultrasound for the following Tuesday, A WEEK AWAY!  I went home and tried to function but by the time Thursday, the 10th, came around, I knew something wasn't right.  I starting getting severe pressure in my head everytime I bent over or had a bowel movement - to the point that I had tears in my eyes.  I went to the ER that evening.  After spending 6 hours there, I was suspected of having a UTI or possible diverticulitis.  Two ultrasounds were done, pelvic and transvaginally.  My bowel was so swollen that the tech wasn't able to see one of my ovaries and the other one was believed to have a 3cm cyst.  I was given Cipro and Flagyl and discharged home.  Here are my vitals and abnormal labs from that night:

BP - 118/72 upon arrival and 127/75 at discharge (baseline for me is usually 106/61
Pule - 93 upon arrival and 75 at discharge (I've always had a pulse in the 90's)
Temp - 98.8 upon arrival and discharge
US Pelvis - uterus normal size, 13.0mm left ovarian cysts with appropriate color flow and no identified torsion
MPV - 10.6 (H)
Total Protein - 8.3 (H)
GFR - 79.71 (L)
Negative for pregnancy, chlamydia, ghonorrhea yeast infection

By the time I got home, about 15 minutes, I couldn't stand without being dizzy, I felt my head pulsing to the point that I could focus on anything.  I had difficulty speaking, began stuttering and couldn't concentrate.  My husband wanted to call an ambulance but I pleaded with him to just take me upstairs so I could go to sleep.  Around 4am, I woke up extremely nauseous and asked my husband to get me some milk as I hadn't eaten dinner the night before and thought the strength of the antibiotics hadn't settled well with my empty stomach.  An hour later, I began vomitting violently.  I have never felt that horrible before, ever.  Finally, around 2pm, I had absolutely nothing left inside to expel and asked my husband to drive me back to the ER, this is Friday the 11th.  During this visit, a CT supposedly revealed ovarian cysts on both ovaries, sigmoid colitis with numerous diverticula suggestive for diverticulitis.  Here are my vitals and abnormal labs from that night:

BP - 141/90 upon arrival and 124/71 upon admittance to the hospital
Pulse - 119 upon arrival and 88 upon admittance to the hospital
Temp - 98.9 upon arrival and admittance
CT with IV Contrast - Prior appendectomy reported by patient.  Mild sigmoid colitis, nonspecific, although numerous diverticula suggest most likely diverticulitis. No perforation or abscess.  Bilateral adnexal cysts, 3cm each. Nephrolithiasis without obstructive uropathy.  
HGB - 11.6 (L)
HCT - 35.6 (L)
MCH - 26.9 (L)
NEUT % - 90.3 (H)
LYMPH % - 7.1 (L)
Glucose - 126 (H)
AST - 14 (L)
Total Protein - 8.7 (H)
AGR - 1.0 (L)
GFR - 83.00 (L)

Upon admission, I was placed on a clear liquid diet and given Flagyl and Cipro via IV from Friday evening until discharge on Sunday afternoon.  I was told to adhere to a specific diet of no red meat, seeds, nuts and fried food - which I've done religiously.  I lost 13 pounds in the three days I was hospitalized and my abdomen isn't distended anymore.  Unfortunately, about 2 days after completing an additional 7 days on antibiotics, I developed C-Diff.  My colonoscopy had to be rescheduled while I healed from that bacterial infection - which to be honest, was both painful and horrific.  I finally finished another round of Flagyl for that on December 16th.  I was able to schedule my colonoscopy for this past Tuesday, the 27th.  However, after doing the Miralax/Dulcolax prep, it was discovered that my colon had barely been cleaned out.  So, I was told to drink two bottles of the magnesium citrate and after about 8 hours, I had my first episode and after a sleepless night, was cleared out completely.  Per my colonoscopy report, I have a totally healthy, clean and clear colon.  Zero evidence of cancer, Crohn's, diverticulitis/diverticulosis, IBS, etc.  Of course, I was extremely happy to hear this but when I realized the findings revealed that I was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis that is proven to be impossible, I became concerned and am lost as to what was actually happening to me during that time period.  While I do feel better, I don't feel 100% back to normal.  I ate Life cereal the morning after my colonoscopy and immediately developed to exact same pain in the exact same area of my abdomen that I had prior to the ER visits.  Everytime I eat, which is very little due to the pain, my abdomen becomes hard and distended, I exeperience the same pressure in my head and even though my bowel was completely cleared out, I wasn't able to use the bathroom on Thursday night even though I had the urge.  When I even pushed a little bit, it was very painful and the pressure in my head became worse.  How could I be constipated when I have nothing in there?  I've had a low grade temp of 99.9 since Tuesday and have no idea what's happening, again.  I have an appointment with my doctor on January 4th but I don't feel confident he will be able to explain the misdiagnosis from last month.  I'm praying somebody can offer some guidance or suggestions that would provide some kind of answer to what is going on inside my body.  
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Welcome to the gastroenterology community!  It seems like your doctors gave you antibiotics without really knowing what was going on.  This is what most likely led to the C Diff (the antibiotics made you more suseptible to the C Diff).  I'm not sure what you had.  Do you have any history of GI problems?  I would recommend you make an appointment with a GI doctor to discuss your condition.  I would recommend talking to him abour starting you on probiotics, getting more testing done (tests for food intolerances/allergies, gallbladder problems, etc.), and the possibility that you have some sort of chronic constipation.
Avatar universal
I have the same symptoms, so I was wondering is they ever found the cause of the symptoms. I have been in and out of the hospital on several antibiotics and finally sent home with miralax and still no answers to what's going on with me. I'm not constipated anymore but I'm still sick everyday.
Avatar universal
I believe you need a vaginal ultrasound. I am a DES baby. I have suffered for years 40 to be exact. I have been in hospital for divirticulitis and they said I had an abscess but truly felt it was my left ovary and cysts. I had a fibroid on the outer lower right of my uterus and so had surgery to cut that out and drain lady ovary. That was in 99.  After twelve years of struggling to have a BM and hospital stay in 2011 I said just take it all out. When the doc got in there my ovary was completely adhered to my lower left sigmoid Colon. Took her an hour to cut it out and away from my colon. That was 2012 and now have found the pain again so I believe this is from adhesions from former surgeries that are affecting the paristalsis of my colon to move the bowel. I dont want a bowel resection but not sure they can to do a minimally invasive surgery to free up the bowel. Waiting in pain as well until end of May for appt. doctors booking way out in Gastro dept.
Avatar universal
Did u figure it out? I’m having severe headaches similar to what u described. It’s definitely digestive/bowel related. But no answers yet.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem