August 7, 2014 at 1:00 am

To Your Health

Will surgery help outfox recurrent infection?

Dear Dr. Roach: I had a CT scan in September 2012, which confirmed my PCP’s suspicion of diverticulitis. I was treated with Cipro and Flagyl. I had other in­fections in June 2013 and January and March.

I since have seen a colorectal specialist. She felt that the March infection was a recurrence of the one in January. She prescribed amoxicillin and scheduled a colonoscopy for mid-May. Unfortunately, I had another recurrence, so she canceled the colonoscopy, saying it was too risky if I still had an infection. I just finished 10 days of cefuroxime and follow a low-residue diet. I still have cramping and pain before bowel movements, so I don’t know if the infection has cleared. During any of these episodes I have not had a fever or blood in stools, but my white blood cells are slightly elevated.

I am at my wits’ end. I feel crummy when taking the meds, and I fear another infection at any time. I am active, 67 and otherwise in good health. I am open to surgery, but they say it is best to have it when you don’t have an infection. The specialist feels this may be a chronic condition for me and surgery would be the solution, as infections will keep occurring. I can’t have the colonoscopy if I still have an infection. Do I need to have the colonoscopy before surgery?

Anon.

Dear Anon: Diverticula are small pouches in the bowel wall. Diverticulitis is the inflammation of those pouches, and it is a potentially serious infection. Surgery is indicated for recurrent disease, but some surgeons recommend surgery after even a single episode, if the diverticula are in the most common part of the bowel, the sigmoid colon.

Surgery can be done even during infection; however, surgery has better results if the infection is cleared up. Still, I would recommend seeing a surgeon soon. Sometimes the surgeon does the colonoscopy in the operating room.

Dear Dr. Roach: I have been riding my bike outdoors, same saddle, 130 miles a month for over three years. Out of the blue my left sit bone, or the tis­sue around it, is so sore. HELP!

A.D.C.

Dear A.D.C.: A good rule of thumb for an athletic injury or sudden soreness is that resting it for a period of time usually is a good idea. Try some different types of exercising to give your soft tissues a chance to recover. You may simply have overdone it. If things don’t get better, go ahead and get checked out.

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.