Appendicitis; signs and symptoms
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The most common, sure sign of Appendicitis is abdominal pain. However, other indicators will be a giveaway. They are the following:
The abdominal pain:
Happens before other symptoms
Usually begins by belly button and then moves to the lower right
A pain you have never felt
Gets worse in a short time and will not get better
Moving around will not help but only make it worse
Loss of appetite
Not being able to pass gas
Low Grade fever
Feeling that passing a stool will relieve discomfort
Causes of Appendicitis
When someone gets appendicitis, it means that there is obstruction to the appendicle lumen. What happens is there is mucus that backs up and will cause bacteria to multiply. So, of course the appendix will swell and become infected. It’s important to go to the doctor or ER right away if you think you have appendicitis because if not treated, your appendix can actually burst and could lead to Peritonitis. Anyone is at risk for Appendicitis. Usually the age group that it’s more common in is 10-30 years old.
How does Appendicitis get diagnosed?
A doctor can sometimes tell just by a physical examination and your medical history. When the doctor does a physical examination, he or she will just know by the way someone acts when the doctor pushes on the abdomen. Usually, if the appendix is inflamed, the patient will of course guard that spot because it’s tender to touch. That is usually the number one sign of appendicitis to doctors. However, most of the time the doctor will order you to get an image test done to confirm that is indeed what it truly is. There will also be of course blood tests to check for infection. Usually, when someone’s white blood cell count is high, this means there is an infection in the body. Then, when they are sure they will go ahead and do surgery right away before the risk of your appendix bursting.
Treatment for Appendicitis
Usually, surgery is needed for the treatment of appendicitis. This surgery usually happens right away for caution. The surgery will be to remove the appendix. There is actually two ways this can be done. There is an older way called Laparotomy which removes the appendix while going through a single incision in the lower, right area of the abdomen where the appendix is located. However, the newer method is used more and that is called the Laparoscopic surgery. This surgery uses smaller incisions and also used with special surgical tools that are fed through the incisions to be able to remove the appendix. Of course, whenever possible the Laparoscopic way is used because it results in fewer complications and less of a time to recover. There is a non surgical treatment that is used if the patient is not well enough to undergo a regular surgery. The way this happens is that the patient will have to take antibiotics to treat the infections and follow a liquid or soft diet until the infection goes away. The reason that they say to follow a soft diet is because it’s low in fiber and will break down easily through the gastrointestinal tract.
What to remember if you think you may have Appendicitis
If you think you may have appendicitis, you need to seek medical attention right away. It cannot wait until the morning or the next day as it can be worse than you think and can progress fast.
Compliments of Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine & Public Health