Appendicitis - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Appendicitis - Overview

Appendicitis is basically known as the inflammation of the appendix, a vestigial organ found in the large intestine of humans. The appendix is basically a 3.5 inch long, tube like organ made up primarily of tissue that extends and hangs out from the long intestine of humans. Since it is a vestigial organ, no one knows about the real function of this organ. It has been proven that humans can live healthily without their appendix, as the amount of collagen that is to be processed by humans is comparatively low.

Appendicitis emerges out to be a medical emergency which requires a quick surgical procedure in order to remove the organ. In case it is left untreated, it can burst and thus perforate, causing the spilling of infectious waste material within the abdominal cavity leading to further complications. There have been cases where untreated Appendicitis has caused the disease, peritonitis in humans, resulting in the inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity or the peritoneum, often leading to fatal repercussions.

Seldom, a pus filled abscess (a kind of infection that can be walled off from the rest of the body) forms outside the surface of the inflamed appendix. The scarred and infected tissue can therefore wall off from the appendix and the rest of the abdominal cavity as well, causing the prevention of the infection from spreading to the rest of the abdominal region. There are no other means of identifying an abscessed appendix without surgery. This is one of the major reasons why all the cases of appendicitis are often termed as urgent surgeries, requiring instant medical attention and care.
Appendicitis can affect people from all age groups. People between the age of 10 to 30 are the ones which are more prone to suffering from this disease.

Causal Factors Of Appendicitis

Some of the major causes for the occurrence of Appendicitis is as follows:

Blockage: The blockage of the appendix by the formation of stool or by the lodging of any foreign body or cancerous formation can be one of the major reasons for the causing of this disease.

Infections: Infections are the second major reasons for the occurrence of appendicitis. Due to inborn infection, the appendix can swell and therefore, as a response towards the infection in the body, inflammation is often identified.

Symptoms Of Appendicitis

Though there are many known symptoms of the disease, some of the best known symptoms for the diagnosis of the disease are as follows:

  • Dull, yet piercing sharp pain in the navel region or the upper abdominal region. This pain, changes to sharp, stabbing pain as they move to the lower area of the abdomen. This is usually one of the beginning symptoms of the disease.
  • General loss of appetite
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting followed by abdominal pain
  • Swelling around the abdominal area
  • Constant mild fever
  • Inability to pass off the gas

Though these are the major symptoms of the disease, these can be followed by other symptoms as well:

  • Dull or sharp pain around the abdominal area, rectum or the back side.
  • Constant pain during urination
  • Vomiting along with the abdominal pain
  • Muscular cramps all over.
  • Constipation as well as the inability of passing gas

Upon the occurrence of these symptoms, it is mandatory to seek constant medical attention as they could be the beginning of the disease. Also, timely diagnosis of the disease is one of the critical factors in order to treat appendicitis. It is recommended that the patients should be preventing drinking or eating any antacids, laxatives as well as pain relieving remedies before consulting their doctor. Also, the usage of the heat pads should be avoided as they cause the untimely rupturing of the appendix, which can only make the matters worse.

Diagnosis Of Appendicitis

As per the medical opinion of some of the best known doctors, the diagnosis of appendicitis can prove out to be very tricky in some cases. There have been instances where the symptoms of appendicitis have been very similar to some other gastrointestinal diseases, such as gallbladder pain, urinary tract infection, Crohn’s disease, gastritis or even the intestinal infection and ovary problems. This makes the diagnosis of the diseases very difficult.

Some of the basic tests that are used by the doctors for the diagnosis of appendicitis are as follows:

Abdominal exam: This is basic exam which is used in order to check the appendix for signs of inflammation.
Urine Test: Since appendicitis has often been confused with Urinary Tract infection, this test is basically used to remove that element of doubt from the diagnostic procedure.
Rectal Exam
Blood Test: Blood Test is done as a routine test in order to check the immune system of the body and to ensure that the body is fighting against infection.

CT Scans and Ultrasound is the ones that are used to definitely check the appendix for signs of infection and inflammation.

Treatment Of Appendicitis

Appendectomy is one of the best ways for the treatment of appendicitis. It is basically a surgery that is used to remove the appendix and is known as a worldwide standard treatment for appendicitis.

Even in some of the cases where appendicitis has been even suspected, the doctors prefer to remove the appendix quickly in order to prevent the rupture of the tissue within the body.

In some of the cases, where the appendix has formed an abscess, two major procedures are used:

  • Draining of the abscess in order to remove the pus and the fluid.
  • Permanent removal of appendix

Appendectomy: What Are You in For?

Usually before the surgery, the patients are administered with antibiotics. This helps to prevent peritonitis in the body. After the administration ofanaesthesia, usually a 4 inch incision is given to the patient via laparoscopy in order to remove the appendix from the body. In case a patient develops a case of peritonitis, then the abdomen needs to be irrigated in order to drain out the accumulated pus.

Patients are often able to walk 12 hours after the surgery. Within two to three weeks, a patient is able to continue with his usual routine. For laparoscopic surgery, the incision is smaller as well as the recovery is faster.

Some of the after effects of surgery may consist of the following:

  •          Nausea / vomiting
  •          Pain in the abdominal cavity.
  •          Dizziness / fainting spells.
  •          Blood during vomiting / urination.
  •          Fever.
  •          Pus formation in the wound

There is no known way for the prevention of appendicitis. However, the chance of the occurrence of appendicitis is lower in people who consume food that is rich in fibre such as fruits and vegetables! So, keep up with your diet intake and keep a check on the symptoms!

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