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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

The symptoms of diverticular disease can mimic other diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, acute appendicitis, Crohn's disease, bladder infection, kidney stones, colitis, or tumors of the ovary or colon.

Your doctor will ask about your medical history, bowel habits and diet and will conduct a physical examination, including a rectal examination with a gloved finger to detect tenderness, blockage or blood. Your doctor may press on your abdomen to check for tenderness. If inflammation is spreading, discomfort will remain even after the doctor removes the pressure. If you have sharper pain when you move, an abscess may have ruptured.

Your doctor may order additional studies, including blood tests for signs of infection, a stool check for blood, and an X-ray, a computed tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound to look for diverticulitis or abscess inside the colon.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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