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How does a doctor test for diverticulitis?

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Quick Answer

To test for diverticulitis, a doctor orders blood tests and imaging studies. In some cases, a doctor also performs a digital rectal exam to see if there is a mass or any tenderness in the patient's pelvic area, states WebMD.

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How does a doctor test for diverticulitis?
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Full Answer

Diverticulitis is defined as an infection or inflammation of the diverticula, which are bulging pouches that sometimes form in the digestive tract. This condition causes nausea, fever, severe abdominal pain and significant changes in a person's bowel habits, notes Mayo Clinic.

If a patient presents with abdominal or pelvic pain, a doctor may order a complete blood count to rule out infection. A urinalysis helps determine if the patient has a urinary tract infection. Abdominal X-rays are sometimes helpful for determining the cause of the pain, states WebMD.

In some cases, it is necessary to order a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy or CT scan to determine the cause of the patient's symptoms. CT scans help diagnose abdominal abscesses or other causes of abdominal pain. If the patient reports bleeding from the intestine, a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to find the cause of the bleeding, as reported by WebMD. In cases of severe bleeding, the patient may need an angiogram or a technetium-labeled red blood cell bleeding scan to identify the source of the bleeding.

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