Can Diverticulitis Affect the Bladder? 5 Symptoms You Should Know!

Blood in urine is quite common in many diseases but what if your urine comes with fecal matter and air? That could be troublesome for sure and this might sound strange but diverticulitis which is the inflammation of the bulges in your large intestine can lead to the aforementioned symptoms! 

So, can diverticulitis affect the bladder? 

Yes! The diverticula in your large intestine can affect the bladder when they are inflamed. What happens is, the inflammation leads to the formation of a false tube from intestine to the bladder called fistula. Such a tube leads to the mixing of fecal matter with urine. So, is this condition treatable? Let’s explore. 

In this write-up, you’ll get to know the difference between diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Moreover, you’ll also learn how can diverticulitis affect the bladder. So, keep reading!  

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is an abdominal disorder in which several swellings can develop in your large intestine called diverticula. Such pockets aren’t harmful till the time they get inflamed. Under normal conditions, it is called diverticulosis whereas when they get inflamed, it is called diverticulitis

It usually happens after 40 years of age. As these pouches develop in the large intestine mostly in the sigmoid colon; hence, when inflamed, these are most likely to cause bowel problems. With diverticulitis, you might experience a marked change in your bowel habits with the symptoms ranging from mild to severe perforations in the intestine. 

diverticulitis

When it comes to the cause of diverticulitis, note that it happens naturally and depends upon some factors such as age, weight, and gender. People at high risk of developing the condition are:

  • People above 40 years are at risk
  • males 
  • Those who are overweight
  • People with a sedentary lifestyle 
  • People consuming an unhealthy diet with a significantly less amount of fiber in it
  • Smokers 
  • Taking drugs such as NSAIDs

Research is still going on to figure out the exact cause of diverticulitis but for now, scientists believe that it is caused due to constipation. Fiber is a vital part of your diet that adds bulk to food and eases digestion. Hence, a good amount of fiber is significant to avoid digestive problems. 

When your fiber intake is reduced, the stool becomes hard and it becomes difficult for it to pass through the intestines leading to constipation. This condition leads to the accumulation of waste materials in the colon putting excessive pressure on the  weak parts of the walls of the intestine leading to the formation of bulges called diverticula. 

These pockets can be inflamed by the bacteria present in the stool leading to diverticulitis. 

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of diverticulitis are pretty common and similar to those experienced by people with any abdominal disorder.  

The symptoms are often accompanied by constipation and rarely diarrhea but if you experience constant abdominal cramps accompanied by any of the aforementioned signs, you must seek medical attention. 

Treatment 

Only 25% of people experience complications associated with diverticulitis which can be a blockage, scarring, abscess, or a fistula. The treatment of diverticulitis varies from patient to patient depending upon the size of the bulging. Dietary modification, bed rest, stool softeners, and different medications are used to treat the condition; however, surgical treatment might be required if the case becomes complicated. 

Can Diverticulitis Affect the Bladder?

One of the most common queries about diverticulitis is, can diverticulitis cause urinary problems? Well, yes! It can affect the bladder thereby causing urinary problems. There is a condition associated with diverticulitis called colovesical fistula in which the inflammation leads to the development of a passage between the intestine and the bladder wall. 

can-diverticulitis-affect-the-bladder

Two-thirds of the cases of colovesicular fistula are caused due to diverticulitis. 

The aforementioned condition can lead to the mixing of the two different excretory products. Normally feces and urine have completely separate pathways with no interaction to get mixed. However, diverticulitis might lead to the formation of that false passage due to which both the bladder and intestine are interconnected and you might experience passing fecal matter with urine. 

People often ask, can diverticulitis cause blood in urine? Well, there is a possibility that diverticulitis might lead to hematuria which is blood in the urine. This happens usually when a diverticulum is inflamed or infected. The diverticulitis fistula bladder symptoms are:

  • Dysuria 
  • Pneumaturia (air in urine)
  • Fecaluria  (feces in urine)
  • Hematuria (blood  in urine) 
  • Abdominal pain

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctors suggest urine and blood tests, and CT scans of the lower abdomen or the pelvic region. In a diverticulitis urine test, dark urine with either air or blood might indicate a fistula formation. 

Colovesical fistulas are common in males whereas females are more likely to develop false tubes from the intestine to the vagina. Treatment of fistulas is usually performed by surgical procedure. It depends upon the size of the holes, small holes usually heal on their own whereas large-sized holes must be sewn.  

So, can diverticulitis cause bladder pain? Well, it can cause pain in the abdominal or pelvic regions. Since the pathway of excretion becomes impaired, you might experience air, feces, and in rare conditions, blood with urine. Hence, patients with this kind of fistula suffer from various urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

Can diverticulitis press on the bladder? When it comes to diverticulitis, the bladder isn’t always affected. However, there is a possibility for the inflamed pocket to come in contact with the bladder. 

Some people often ask, can diverticulitis cause hip and leg pain? Well, the pain in diverticulitis is associated with the abdominal region but in rare conditions, it might radiate to the back, hips, groin, and lower limbs too. 

Bladder Diverticulitis

There is a congenital or acquired condition in some patients called bladder diverticulitis in which there are diverticula within the weaker parts of the walls of the bladder. 

bladder-diverticulitis

Bladder diverticulum which can either be present at birth or may be acquired later. It is the formation of bulges in the weak parts of the bladder wall which remain asymptomatic till the time they are inflamed. 

The symptoms of bladder diverticulum 

Bladder diverticula aren’t always problematic and the treatment varies according to the cause. An early diagnosis and effective treatment can easily help you improve the symptoms of bladder diverticula. 

Can Diverticulitis Affect Your Heart?

Diverticular diseases are found to be associated with acute coronary syndrome which includes a  list of disorders caused due to low blood supply to the heart. Both diverticular disease and cardiovascular problems belong to two different systems of the body and the link between them appears quite ambiguous. 

Research suggests that chronic inflammation can lead to arterial atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems. Hence, in some conditions, diverticular problems can affect the healthy functioning of your heart. 

FAQs

Can diverticulitis feel like a bladder infection?

Sometimes diverticulitis can affect the bladder due to the formation of a colovesical fistula. It is a condition in which a false passage is developed between the bladder and the sigmoid colon of your intestine. In this condition, you might experience hematuria, fecaluria, pneumaturia, and pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic region. 

Can diverticulosis put pressure on the bladder?

Diverticulosis is a condition in which several out pockets develop in the wall of the intestine which remain asymptomatic usually. However, when these bulges are inflamed, they lead to diverticulitis. In such conditions, the bladder can be affected by the development of a fistula between the bladder and intestine. 

What organs are affected by diverticulitis?

Well, diverticulitis normally affects the lower part of your large intestine called the sigmoid colon. However, in some cases, it can also affect the bladder in males and the vagina in females. This happens when a false passage builds up between the intestine and the aforementioned organs. 

What causes diverticulitis in the bladder?

Bladder diverticulitis is usually congenital and can also be acquired. When acquired, swollen prostate or scars in the urethral region might lead to diverticula formation in the walls of the bladder. It can be caused due to bladder neck obstruction, enlarged prostate, diamond-black fan anemia, and Menkes syndrome. 

Final Verdict

Can diverticulitis affect the bladder? When it comes to diverticulitis, the bulges can make their way to the bladder through a colovesical fistula (tube). Such a passage leads to the symptoms of abdominal discomfort accompanied by hematuria, pneumaturia, and fecaluria. 

This condition is more common in males than in females because in females the intestine gets connected with the vagina. The treatment of diverticulitis includes several dietary modifications along with medications and even surgery in some conditions. 

Bladder diverticulitis is a different condition and is usually congenital; however, if it is acquired, you can get it treated to improve the symptoms.

Mehrosh Ahmer

Mehrosh Ahmer

My name is Mehrosh Ahmer and I’m currently a student of MBBS at Jinnah Sindh Medical University. My passion for studying the wonder that is the human body and the desire to give back to my society has led me to pursue a career in medicine. As I research, I learn more about my field, and it improves my understanding. This is why I enjoy writing the articles so that more people might get to read about subjects that they otherwise might never encounter.

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