Appendicitis is a painful medical condition that often ends up requiring emergency surgery. It is on the right side of the abdomen. Appendicitis looks like a thin pouch that is attached to the large intestine. Sometimes it becomes inflamed and filled with pus without any visible reason. This pus is actually an accumulation of dead cells and inflammatory tissue that often comes from infection.
We can understand it as an inflammation of the appendix. In severe cases, this infection results in its rupture according to health experts. If that happens, the infection can spread throughout the abdomen, resulting in severe complications such as peritonitis (infection within the abdomen) or an abscess surrounding the appendix. It is unclear what causes appendicitis, but possible causes include abdominal trauma or injury, obstruction at the point where the appendix joins the intestines, gastrointestinal tract infection, irritable bowel disease, or expansions within the appendix.
How does appendicitis show up?
There are other symptoms of appendicitis besides sudden, severe pain. The most typical symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain: Appendicitis is typically characterized by an ongoing feeling of dull, cramping, or aching abdominal pain. The swelling of appendicitis would affect the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal wall. The patient may go through a sharp, localized pain in the right lower abdomen. Nonetheless, some individuals may have an appendix located behind the colon. Such patients may report lower back or pelvic pain.
- Vomiting and nausea: As your body begins to combat the inflammation and infection caused by appendicitis, you may feel queasy and vomit. If you have appendicitis, you will not feel better after vomiting, unlike with a viral illness. You may even begin to feel worse.
- Mild fever: The fever from appendicitis is usually between 99°F (37.2°C) and 100.5°F (38°C). You might also experience chills. If your appendix ruptures, the subsequent infection may cause your temperature to rise. A ruptured appendix may be indicated by a high fever and heart rate.
- Constipation and diarrhea: An infection or inflammation in the GI tract can speed things up and cause diarrhea or slow things down and make stools difficult to pass. Some patients may experience a complete shutdown of the digestive system.
- Loss of appetite: When your body detects a problem, it may prompt you to abstain from food to reduce the strain on your GI tract.
How Long Does Appendicitis Last?
The symptoms of appendicitis will persist until the condition is treated. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the warning signs of appendicitis in yourself or a loved one. The appendix may burst within 48 to 72 hours of noticing symptoms. This can pose significant health risks, especially if appendicitis is caused by an infection. When an appendix ruptures, the infection can spread to the abdomen. The major signs of a ruptured appendix include severe belly pain, lower right abdominal pain, and a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your physician will conduct a comprehensive physical examination to evaluate your symptoms and condition. To confirm appendicitis, the patient may have to go through some additional tests and procedures:
- Blood test to look for elevated white blood cell counts that may indicate an infection
- Urinalysis to exclude kidney stone formation
- Imaging exams to identify other conditions and confirm
What Treatment Options Are Available for Appendicitis?
It’s a very specific medical condition, and it really is an emergency that needs immediate care. Appendectomy, which is the medical term for the surgical removal of the appendix, is the recommended course of treatment for almost all cases of appendicitis. By the time your doctor diagnoses appendicitis, he will usually remove the appendix right away to prevent a rupture. In cases where there is an abscess, you may need two procedures: one to drain pus and fluid from the abscess, and another to remove the appendix. Recent studies have shown that the use of antibiotics in the treatment of acute appendicitis may eliminate the requirement for surgical intervention.
Serious complications, such as an appendix being punctured, can arise from appendicitis. A rupture can spread infection (peritonitis) throughout the abdomen. And this could be life-threatening. In such cases, an immediate appendectomy and abdominal cavity cleansing are necessary. The accumulation of pus in the abdomen is also a possibility if the appendix ruptures. Typically, a tube is inserted through the patient’s abdominal wall and into the abscess to drain the infection. The infected tube is left in place for about two weeks while the patient takes antibiotics.
Appendicitis Fact File
Here are some fun facts about appendicitis:
- The appendix is a small, finger-shaped organ located at the end of the large intestine, and its function is still not fully understood by medical professionals.
- You can have appendicitis at any age, but it is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30.
- In some rare cases, the appendix can grow back after it has been removed, a condition known as appendiceal stump syndrome.
- The exact cause of appendicitis is still unknown, despite the fact that it is a relatively common condition.
The most common cause of appendicitis is constipation, which leads to a buildup of stool. It is crucial to collaborate with your doctor in order to prevent appendicitis if you suffer from any condition that causes inflammation or infection of the bowels. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, consult online with the best gastroenterologist in Lahore to get immediate medical attention.
1. How can appendicitis be ruled out?
To diagnose appendicitis, a healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination and order diagnostic tests such as blood work, urinalysis, abdominal ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan.
2. How long does appendicitis pain last?
Appendicitis pain can last from 24 to 72 hours before the appendix ruptures. When this occurs, the pain may temporarily improve before worsening again.
3. How quickly do symptoms of appendicitis develop?
Symptoms of appendicitis appear rapidly, usually within the first 24 hours. Signs can appear anywhere between four and forty-eight hours after a problem occurs. It is especially important to see a doctor if you also experience fever, chills, or fatigue.