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10 Early Warning Signs of Appendicitis and What You Can Do About It?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 13, 2017

   6 min     


What is appendicitis?

The appendix is a pouch-shaped organ connected to the large intestine on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen. An obstruction in the appendix can lead to its inflammation and infection; a condition commonly referred to as appendicitis. The blockage may be due to the accumulation of mucus, parasites or fecal matter.

The appendix, despite being a part of the gastrointestinal tract, is a vestigial organ. This implies that it is not responsible for any vital function in the body, and an individual can lead a completely healthy life even without it.

In the case of an inflamed appendix, it is vital to get treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, this can lead to its rupture and consequent release of dangerous bacteria into your body.

What causes appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body, or cancer. The blockage may also occur from the infection since the appendix can swell in response to an infection in the body. A blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection is the likely cause of appendicitis. The bacteria multiply rapidly, causing the appendix to become inflamed, swollen and filled with pus. If not treated promptly, the appendix can rupture. In many cases, the exact cause of appendicitis is unknown. Experts believe it develops when part of the appendix becomes obstructed, or blocked. 

Many things can potentially block your appendix, including:

  • A buildup of hardened stool

  • Enlarged lymphoid follicles

  • Intestinal worms

  • Traumatic injury

  • Tumors

This is when the condition snowballs into a life-threatening situation. Hence, it is important to identify the early symptoms of appendicitis and seek medical attention immediately.

Listed below are some of the appendicitis symptoms and signs and how you can address these-

1. Acute appendicitis ( pain in the abdomen): In half of the cases, the appendicitis pain starts as a dull ache around the belly-button area. It will then intensify quickly and become debilitating and severe within a few hours. Mothers often compare this pain to the kind they experience during labor. If the pain is left untreated at this point, it will prevent you from participating in normal activities. If you experience it in sleep, the pain will be so intense that you will be awakened and unable to get back to sleep. Some people have appendix located behind the colon. In appendicitis, these people have experienced lower back or pelvic pain. Pain in the abdomen should be treated as an emergency, and you must seek immediate medical assistance.

2. Bloating and gas: After eating an elaborate meal or consuming large amounts of water, you typically feel bloated. However, this would subside in a few hours, and you would feel normal again. One of the early warning signs of appendicitis is bloating and gas that does not go away.

These symptoms worsen over time and culminate in constipation, bowel discomfort, and difficulty in bowel movements. Most of the people affected by appendicitis are not aware of this symptom.

They realize that the condition could be due to the inflammation of the appendix only when nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain sets in.

3. Painful movement of the body: As time progresses, the appendicitis pain will become so severe that it will inhibit you from performing daily activities, and even make it unbearable to sneeze or cough. This can be likened to the pain you experience at the time of a rib injury.

You may notice a sharp pain when you walk or turn your torso to one side. This pain is usually concentrated in the lower right portion of the abdomen. Within a day or two, the pain intensifies, and it could spread from your abdomen down to your legs.

4. Digestive upset or Diarrhea: This is one of the contradictory symptoms of appendicitis. Diarrhea usually starts on a mild scale and then gets worse. It might even reach a point where you become dehydrated! 

You should observe the presence of mucus in your bowel movements. In the case of diarrhea accompanying appendicitis, you would feel the urge to use the washroom on an hourly basis, or even more than that. This is a dangerous situation because you lose a lot of fluids from your body. In such a scenario, you need to stay hydrated until you get to a doctor. You can also avail doctor consultation at home.

5. Discomfort after bowel movements: Tenesmus is the medical term used to refer to the uncomfortable feeling of wanting to pass stools after you have already gone. There are a couple of unique characteristics for the tenesmus you feel when you are suffering from appendicitis.

  • Since the urgency of bowel movements is so amplified in appendicitis, the tenesmus is also more intense, when compared to a normal scenario.

  • Tenesmus in appendicitis is accompanied by pain, cramping, and straining.

  • These symptoms, coupled with others like nausea, vomiting, bloating and gas warrants a visit to the doctor.

6. Painful urination: This is not a symptom that is usually associated with appendicitis. However, there have been a large number of patients who have experienced this issue during the onset of the condition.

The physical swelling in the abdomen that stems from the inflammation is responsible for the pressure around the appendix. This pressure makes the act of passing urine painful and uncomfortable.

So, if you experience pain during urination, accompanied by the other symptoms listed here, it is worth checking with your doctor if the issue is due to an inflamed appendix. In the case of appendicitis, it is better to diagnose the condition sooner rather than later.

Appendicitis treatment

When a case of appendicitis is identified, there are a couple of ways to treat it.

  • In a few cases, the condition gets better without surgery. A liquid diet and antibiotics are enough to heal the appendix.

  • In a majority of the cases, surgery will be necessary, and the treatment depends on the specifics of the case.

Open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy are two types of surgeries that are performed for appendicitis.

In both surgeries, the appendix is removed, and cleanup of the abdominal cavity is performed. Recuperation post-surgery depends on the patient’s health and the specifics of the condition.

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Tags:  appendix, abdominal pain, Diagnostic Tests & Results, Drugs & Supplements, ,Appendicitis, health care, treatment

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