What are the physical findings of uncomplicated diverticulitis?

Updated: Aug 06, 2019
  • Author: Elie M Ghoulam, MD, MS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Diverticulitis can present with a range of physical findings, mirroring the severity of the inflammation and the presence of complications, including the following:

  • Localized abdominal tenderness

  • Abdominal distention

  • Tympanic abdomen to percussion

  • A tender mass (abscess formation)

  • Hypo- or hyperactive bowel sounds

  • Absent bowel sounds (perforation)

  • Generalized abdominal pain with rebound and guarding (perforation)

  • Urinary tract findings (colovesicular/colovaginal fistula) include suprapubic, flank, costovertebral tenderness; pneumaturia (air in urine); fecaluria (stool in urine); or purulent vaginal discharge

Simple diverticulitis

In simple diverticulitis, fever and localized abdominal tenderness in the area of the affected diverticula are common findings. Left lower quadrant tenderness is the most common physical finding, as most diverticula occur in the sigmoid colon. [15] Right lower quadrant tenderness, mimicking acute appendicitis, can occur in right-sided diverticulitis.


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