What is appendicitis?
Appendicitis is an infection of the appendix, which is a finger-shaped pocket that radiates from the colon in the lower right side of the abdomen.
Appendicitis causes pain in the right lower abdomen. However, in most people, the pain begins around the navel and then moves. As the inflammation worsens, the pain of appendicitis usually worsens and eventually becomes severe.
Although anyone can develop this disease, it most often occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30. The standard treatment is the surgical removal of the appendix.
Types of appendicitis
It can be acute or chronic. In acute cases of appendicitis, symptoms tend to be severe and develop suddenly. In chronic cases, symptoms may be milder and may come and go over several weeks, months, or even years.
The situation can be simple or complex as well. In mild cases of appendicitis, there are no complications. Complex cases involve complications, such as an abscess or a rupture of the appendix.
In the event that you have appendicitis, you may encounter at least one of the accompanying manifestations:
- Pain in the upper abdomen or around the navel
- Pain in the lower right side of your abdomen
- Inability to pass gas
- Low fever
The pain of appendicitis may start as mild cramps. It often gets firmer and more intense over time. It may start in the upper abdomen or the navel area, before moving to the lower right quadrant of your abdomen.
If you are constipated and suspect you may have appendicitis, avoid taking laxatives or using an enema. These treatments may cause the appendix to burst.
Call your doctor if you have tenderness on the right side of your abdomen along with any other symptoms of appendicitis. Appendicitis can quickly become a medical emergency.
What causes appendicitis?
In the United States, 1 in 20 people will develop appendicitis at some point in their lives. Although it can affect any age, appendicitis is rare in children younger than 2 years old. It is most likely to affect people between the ages of 10 and 30
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix gets blocked, often by stool, a foreign object (something inside of you that isn’t supposed to be there), or cancer. The blockage may also result from infection, as the appendix can enlarge in response to any injury to the body.
Treatment for appendicitis
How do doctors treat appendicitis?
Doctors usually treat this disease with surgery to remove the appendix. Specialists play out the medical procedure in a clinic with general sedation. Your doctor will recommend surgery if you have persistent abdominal pain and fever, or signs of an appendix burst and infection. Urgent surgery reduces the chance of the appendix bursting.
Medical services experts consider the medical procedure to eliminate the informative supplement an appendectomy. The surgeon performs the surgery in one of the following ways:
- Laparoscopic surgery: During laparoscopic surgery, surgeons use several small incisions and special surgical tools that feed them through the incisions to remove the appendix. Laparoscopic surgery leads to fewer complications, such as hospital-related infections, and the recovery time is shorter.
- Surgeons use a laparotomy to remove the appendix through a single incision in the lower right area of your abdomen.
After surgery, most patients recover completely from appendicitis and do not need to make changes to their diet, exercise, or lifestyle. Surgeons recommend limiting physical activity for the first 10 to 14 days after laparotomy and for the first 3 to 5 days after laparoscopic surgery.
What if the surgeon finds a normal appendix?
In some cases, the surgeon finds the appendix normal during surgery. In this case, many surgeons remove it to eliminate the possibility of developing this disease in the future. Sometimes surgeons find a different problem, and they may correct it during surgery.
Can doctors treat appendicitis without surgery?
Some cases of mild appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics alone. All patients suspected of having appendicitis are treated with antibiotics before surgery, and some patients may get better completely before surgery.
How do specialists treat the difficulties of a burst appendix?
Treatment for complications from a burst appendix depends on the type of complication. In most cases of peritonitis, the surgeon immediately removes the appendix with surgery. The surgeon will use a laparotomy to clean the inside of your abdomen to prevent infection and then remove the appendix. Without prompt treatment, peritonitis can be fatal.
Most commonly, the surgeon may drain the pus from the appendicular abscess during surgery or before surgery. To drain the abscess, the surgeon places a tube into the abscess through the abdominal wall. You leave the drainage tube in place for about two weeks while you are taking antibiotics to treat the infection. When the infection and inflammation are controlled, after about 6 to 8 weeks, surgeons perform operations to remove the remainder of the burst appendix.
Complications of appendicitis
The following are the possible complications that this disease causes.
In the event that the informative supplement cracks and the disease is delivered into the mid-region, the patient may create peritonitis, which is contamination and irritation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs.
Peritonitis may cause your bowel movements to stop working and the bowel will become blocked. The patient will develop a fever and may go into shock. Peritonitis requires urgent treatment.
If the infection drains from the appendix and mixes with the contents of the intestine, an abscess may form. In the event that the canker isn’t dealt with, it can cause peritonitis. Sometimes, cysts are treated with antibiotics. Often, it is emptied surgically with the help of a tube that is placed in the abdomen.
Complications of an appendix can be life-threatening. It is critical to look for clinical assistance for any individual who may have a ruptured appendix.
What tests diagnose appendicitis?
The conclusion of a ruptured appendix starts with an exhaustive history and physical assessment. Patients often have an elevated temperature, and there is usually moderate to severe tenderness in the right lower abdomen when the doctor pushes there. If the inflammation has spread to the peritoneum, there is usually rebound pain. Reflux tenderness is pain that gets worse when the doctor quickly releases his hand after gently pressing the abdomen over the area of pain. This is due to the sudden reflux of the peritoneum after its deformation with finger pressure.
White blood cell count
The white blood cell count usually increases with infection. In early appendicitis, before the infection appears, it can be normal, but there is often at least a slight elevation even early in the process. Unfortunately, appendicitis is not the only condition that causes a high white blood cell count. Almost any infection or inflammation can cause the number to be abnormally high. Thusly, a raised white platelet check alone can’t be utilized to affirm an analysis of appendicitis.
A urinalysis is a microscopic examination of urine that detects red blood cells, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine. Urinalysis is usually abnormal when there is inflammation or stones in the kidneys or bladder. A urinalysis may also be abnormal with appendicitis because the appendix is located near the ureter and bladder. If it is large enough, it may spread to the ureters and bladder resulting in an abnormal urinalysis. However, most patients with this disease undergo a normal urine test. Therefore, a normal urinalysis indicates that appendicitis is more of a urinary tract problem.
Risk factors of appendicitis
Anyone can be affected by this disease. But some people may be more likely to develop this condition than others. For example, risk factors include:
- Age: Appendicitis most often affects people between the ages of 15 and 30.
- Gender: It is more common in males than in females.
- Family history: People with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing it.
Although more research is needed, low-fibre diets may also increase the risk of developing this disease.
Prevention of appendicitis
Countries with a lower incidence of appendicitis also tend to have more fibre in their diets.
A diet rich in fibre may help reduce the chances of developing this disease by creating softer stools, which are less likely to get stuck in the appendix.