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What is Appendicitis?

The appendix has no essential function that has been proven, and sometimes becomes inflamed, and the cause is also unknown. The organ starts at the beginning of the large intestine, and it is small and finger-shaped pouch.

Appendicitis Symptoms

Symptoms of appendicitis are variable, but begin suddenly and worsen over time. Your doctor will easily recognize symptoms of appendicitis.

  • Sharp, unfamiliar pain in the abdomen, around the right side for most individuals. The pain increases during a 12-18 hour period and rapidly becomes worse, especially while moving, breathing deeply, coughing or sneezing.
  • Low appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Constipation, feeling like a bowel movement would bring relief
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Diarrhea

Who gets appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a medical emergency, most common in children under the age of 14. Appendicitis can occur at any age, however, and is most common for people between 10 and 30 years of age. Standard treatment is surgical removal of the appendix. People with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, are more at risk.

If your appendix ruptures, you may feel a relief of some of the initial pain. However, the lining of your abdomen can become infected and swollen, increasing the pain and making you sicker.

Appendicitis Treatment

After discussing your symptoms, most cases require surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy.

During an appendectomy, your surgeon, using laparoscopy, will make a small cut in the lower, right side of your abdominal area and remove the appendix. If the appendix ruptured or an abscess has formed in the abdomen, the surgeon will clean it during the procedure.

Sometimes surgery will reveal a normal appendix, which may still be removed. In other cases, another problem will be detected and fixed.

Nonsurgical treatment may be possible if the patient is too ill for surgery, or if the diagnosis isn't certain. Although some research suggests that appendicitis resolves without surgical removal, it is still the standard recommended treatment. Nonsurgical therapies include antibiotics and a liquid diet until the infection subsides, or a low-fiber fiber recommendation.

Appendectomy Risks and Side Effects

Appendectomy carries inherent risks, as does any surgery. Some of these specific risks are:

  • Adverse reactions to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Buildup of pus from a ruptured appendix

After Appendectomy

Most individuals recover quickly from appendectomy, and do not need to make significant changes to their diet, exercise or lifestyle. Most patients have the procedure and stay in the hospital for one or two days for monitoring. Patients should not perform strenuous physical activities for up to a month after their surgery. However, living without an appendix has not been shown to cause any negative symptoms.

Suffering from the pain of a ruptured appendix? Your health is our top priority. If you suspect you have appendicitis, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment. To learn more about appendicitis and appendectomy, call our West Medical offices at (855) 690-0565.

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