Patient's Complete Guide to Appendicitis

Overview of Appendicitis

Inflammation of the organs is termed as itis’. Inflammation can affect internal organs and cause various symptoms. Inflammation can be acute or chronic.

Appendicitis (ورم زائدہ/ سوزش زائدہ/ زائد آنت کی سوزش) is the inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is present on the lower right side of the abdomen as a 3 ½ inch-long, finger-shaped pouch. It is deemed as a medical emergency followed by immediate removal of the appendix. 

Indication of appendicitis is a pain in the lower right abdomen. Pain level increases as the inflammation increases. People can survive without an appendix without any complications.

Appendicitis can be:

  • Acute
  • Chronic

Prevalence of Appendicitis

Appendicitis occurs most often between the ages of 05 and forty-five. 1 in 20 people is likely to be affected by it. Males have a higher tendency of developing appendicitis than females.

Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis

Signs and symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Pain in the right lower abdomen
  • Pain starting from around the navel and going to the lower abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Cramps
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Causes of Appendicitis

The blockage of the appendix due to an infection or a foreign entity in the body can cause the appendix to be inflamed. The swollen site can become filled with pus. Without prompt treatment, the appendix can rupture.

Risk Factors of Appendicitis

Anyone can suffer from appendicitis. However, some people are more likely to suffer from this condition than others. Some of the risk factors are:

  • Gender: It is more common in males than females.
  • Age: Appendicitis usually affects people who are between the age group of 15 to 30 years old. 
  • Family History: People having a family history of appendicitis are more likely to suffer from it.

Health Complications Due to Appendicitis

Appendicitis can cause serious health complications. Some of the common health complications are:

  • Abscess: It's a pocket of pus formed in the appendix and can leak and spread in the abdominal area.

  • Ruptured Appendix: The appendix can rupture and can make the faecal matter spread in the abdominal cavity. It can lead to a severely life-threatening situation if not treated on time.

  • Peritonitis: In this condition, bacteria that spill into the abdominal cavity can damage the abdominal lining. This causes inflammation and infection in the lining. It can be fatal if not treated timely.

Prevention

There is no proven way to prevent appendicitis. However, consuming a diet high in fibre does help in the prevention. Foods high in fibre include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice
  • Lentils, beans and legumes

Diagnosis

Since the pain is in the abdomen, other illnesses are ruled out simultaneously during the diagnosis. 

  • A physical examination is performed to look for abdominal swelling and to assess the pain.
  • White blood cells are checked via a blood test. A high count indicates an infection.
  • A urine test is done to eliminate urinary tract infections.
  • An Imaging test can be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Appendicitis | When to Consult a Doctor

There is no home treatment for appendicitis. Since it is a medical emergency, the patient is hospitalized immediately.

  • Appendectomy

Appendectomy is the removal of the appendix from the body. It is an open surgery that can be done through a small abdominal incision. A laparoscopic appendectomy’s recovery rate is high with minimal scarring and pain.

A ruptured appendix is removed immediately with normal surgery. In the case of an abscess in the rupture, the abdominal cavity is thoroughly cleaned.

If an abscess is found beforehand, it is removed first and then the appendectomy is performed.

As soon as the first symptoms show themselves, a doctor needs to be consulted. In case of late hospitalization, the appendix can rupture and the pus can spread in the abdominal cavity.

 

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