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Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Cure

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     

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Overview

The appendix is a small, pouch-shaped organ located in the large intestine. It is found in the first part of the colon, in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen.  

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, lead by an obstruction. The blockage or obstruction may be due to the accumulation of mucus, parasites or faecal matter. It can be acute appendicitis or chronic appendicitis. 

The appendix is a vestigial organ, despite being a part of the gastrointestinal tract. This implies that it is with no real function. But, as per new research, the appendix may serve a purpose to the beneficial bacteria living in the gut. 

It is vital to get treatment as early as possible in the case of an inflamed appendix. Else, the ruptured appendix leads to the ensuing release of minacious bacteria into your body. This is when the condition rises up into a life-threatening situation. Hence, it is essential to identify the early symptoms of appendicitis and seek medical attention immediately.  

Causes of Appendicitis

The reasons for appendicitis is still unknown, but experts believe it occurs due to the obstruction or blockage in the part of the appendix. The source for such blockage involves: 

  • Enlarged lymphoid follicles,
  • hardened stool,
  • intestinal infections,
  • tumours,
  • traumatic injury

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Some of the early signs of appendicitis are listed below:

1. Abdominal pain

  • Appendicitis occurs with a pain in the upper abdomen or around the belly-button area in most of the cases.
  • It will then inflame quickly and become debilitating and severe within a few hours. Mothers often compare this pain with the labour they experience during vaginal delivery.
  • If the pain is left untreated at the earlier stage itself, it will avert the person from participating in normal activities. If an individual experience this pain while sleeping, the pain takes up an intense structure that he will be impotent to sleep back.
  • Some people have appendix behind the colon. These people experience lower back or pelvic pain during appendicitis.
  • Pain in the abdomen should be treated as an emergency, and you must seek immediate medical assistance. 

2. Bloating and Gas

Some people may feel bloated after eating an elaborate meal or consuming large amounts of water. Such bloating would calm in a few hours, and they would feel normal again. But, in appendicitis, bloating and gas does not go away.

These symptoms worsen over time and culminate in constipation, and difficulty in bowel movements. 

Most of the people are not aware of this symptom who suffer from appendicitis. They realize that only nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain sets in the inflammation of the appendix. 

3. Mild Nausea

Another sign of appendicitis is nausea that can occur even before a person starts experiencing any abdominal pains.  

If nausea or vomiting is accompanied by localized pain in the lower right abdominal area that increases in intensity, then the probable cause is appendicitis. In this condition, he must seek medical treatment at the earliest possible time. 

4. Low-intensity Fever and Chills

The person suffering from appendicitis generally feel unwell, and maybe some chills. It may be accompanied by a low-intensity fever that leaves him sweating. He may also experience:

  • a mild or sharp stomach ache
  • worse abdominal pain, along with lower back pain or rectal pain 

5. Tenderness of the Abdomen

In rare cases of appendicitis, abdominal pain is not severe enough to be diagnosed precisely. However, in some cases, an individual will experience a situation usually associated with “rebound tenderness”. 

To check for rebound tenderness,

  • Press down on the lower right side of your abdomen in a firm manner, with as much pressure as you can tolerate.
  • Hold the pressure for some time (a few seconds) till you release.
  • Once the pressure is off, you will feel the pain intensifying and then subsiding back into a dull ache. At the time it is intense, you will experience a stabbing sensation.
  • Rebound tenderness is an early symptom of appendicitis. It is usually seen before the onset of any other signs of the condition.
  • Following rebound tenderness, the pain usually intensifies and moves to the lower right side of the abdomen, towards the pelvic area, and sometimes, down the legs. 

6. Digestive upset or Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is one of the contradictory symptoms of appendicitis, which usually starts on a mild scale and then gets worse. It might even reach a point where a person becomes dehydrated.

Over-the-counter treatments are advised to mitigate Diarrhoea. But, if it still intensifies, it could be an indication of something more serious. This happening implies a dangerous situation as there is a lose a lot of fluids from the body. A medical emergency is advised.

7. Painful Urination

Painful urination is not usually associated with appendicitis. However, a large number of patients have experienced this issue during the onset of the condition.

The visible swelling in the abdomen is liable for the pressure around the appendix. This troubles in passing urine with painful and uncomfortable sufferings.

So, if one experience painful urination, accompanied by the other mentioned symptoms, it is worth checking with the doctor. They will see if the issue is due to an inflamed appendix. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Appendicitis

Diagnosing appendicitis requires a physical exam to check for tenderness in the lower right part of your abdomen and swelling or rigidity. The doctor then may advise for one or more tests depending on the results of the physical exam. They will check for any signs of appendicitis or other potential causes.

There is no single test available to diagnose appendicitis. If your doctor can’t identify any other causes of your symptoms, they may diagnose the cause as appendicitis.

  • Complete blood count
  • Urine tests
  • Pregnancy Test
  • Pelvic exam
  • Abdominal imaging tests
  • Chest imaging tests
  • CT Scans 

When appendicitis is identified in the person, there are a couple of ways to treat it.

  • In a few cases, it doesn’t require surgery to treat appendicitis. A liquid diet and antibiotics are sufficient to cure the appendix.
  • Surgery, to remove the appendix, it sometimes becomes necessary depending on the specifics of the case. 

There are two types of surgeries: Open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy are performed to treat this. 

The appendix is surgically removed in both cases, and the abdominal cavity is cleaned. Recuperation post-surgery depends on the patient’s health and the specifics of the condition.

Home Remedies for Appendicitis

It is not safe to rely on home remedies to treat appendicitis. It’s a severe condition that requires medical treatment.  

The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers after surgery. In addition to taking medications as prescribed, the patient must:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • get lots of rest
  • go for a short walk per day
  • avoid lifting heavy objects and strenuous activity until it’s asked
  • keep surgical incision sites clean and dry

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Tags:  Diagnostic Tests & Results,Drugs & Supplements,Appendicitis

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