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Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is inflamed. In order to treat this problem, a long 3.5” tube of tissue is inserted. This tissue extends from the large intestine. Nobody knows what appendix does to your body. But we know one thing about it. We can live without appendix without any apparent consequences.

Appendicitis leads to medical emergency when you have to remove appendix through a surgery. If it is left without treated, inflamed appendix will perforate, or burst eventually and spill out toxic materials to the abdominal cavity. It can cause a serious inflammation, peritonitis, to the lining of abdominal cavity. It can be dangerous unless it is treated with strong antibiotics right away.

Appendicitis

A pus-filled abscess is sometimes formed out of the inflamed appendix. Then scar tissue walls the appendix off from the rest of your abdomen and it keeps infections to spread. The abscessed appendix is not so urgent but sadly, it cannot be noticed without surgery. This is the reason why all cases are treated as emergencies and need surgery. At least one in every 15 people develops appendicitis in the US. Even though it can occur at any age, appendicitis is a rare condition under the age of 2 years but it is most common from 10 to 30 years.

Causes of Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is supposed to be caused by the main obstruction of the lumen of the appendix. Once it takes place, the appendix gets filled with swells and mucus. The consistent production of mucus causes the higher pressures inside the walls and lumen of the appendix. Due to this increased pressure, the small vessels are affected with occlusion and thrombosis. It also causes the stasis of the flow of lymph. In this way, it rarely causes spontaneous recovery.

With the occlusion of blood vessels, the appendix becomes necrotic and ischemic. When bacteria start leaking out with drying walls, pus is formed inside and over the appendix. Appendiceal rupture is the main cause of this cascade. The burst appendix causes peritonitis and it may cause eventual death and sepsis. This cycle of events causes the eventual evolution of stomachache and various common symptoms.

Some of t he main causes are foreign bodies, bezoars, intestinal worms, lymphadenitis and calcified fecal deposits which are known as fecaliths and appendicoliths. The obstructing fecaliths are occurred and grab attention because their presence is higher in appendicitis-affected people living in developing countries. Along with appendiceal fecalith which is associated with complex appendicitis, fecal stasis also play a vital role. People with acute appendicitis have fewer bowel movements a week when compared to healthy controls.

In the appendix, the occurrence of fecalith was known to be caused by right sided retention of the fecal reservoir in the colon. The longer transit time was not found in these studies. When it comes to epidemiological data, it has been found that the adenomatous polyps and diverticular disease were not known and the colon cancer is rare in communities which are not suffering appendicitis. Acute appendicitis has also been considered to be antecedent to cancer in rectum and colon. There are several studies offering evidence that the low consumption of fiber is involved in appendicitis pathogenesis. The low consumption of dietary fiber is caused with the occurring of right fecal reservoir and the transit time is reduced with the deficiency of dietary fiber.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Here are some of the common symptoms of appendicitis –

  • Slow pain around the upper abdomen or navel which goes steep when it shifts to the lower right abs. basically it is the first sign.
  • Loss of hunger
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Vomiting and/or nausea just after the occurrence of abdominal pain
  • Unable to pass gas
  • Fever of around 102 Deg. F

Here are some other symptoms that may occur half of the time.

  • Painful urination
  • Sharp or dull pain in the lower or upper abdomen, or anywhere in the rectum or back.
  • Severe cramps
  • Vomiting with abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea with gas or constipation

Seek medical help right away, if you are suffering any of the above symptoms.  Timely treatment and diagnosis are very important in this condition. Don’t drink or eat any pain remedies, laxatives, antacids, or heating pads because inflamed appendix can rupture.

Appendicitis caretricks

Diagnosing Appendicitis

Diagnosing can really be complex when it comes to appendicitis. Some of the common symptoms are constantly vague or much similar to other conditions like urinary tract or bladder infection, gallbladder problems, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, intestinal infection, gastritis and ovary issues.  Here are the tests are done to make the diagnosis –

  • Rectal exam
  • Urine test in order to find out urinary tract infection
  • Blood test to find out if your body is combating infection
  • Ultrasound or CT scans

Treatment

Appendectomy is the surgery which is provided to remove the appendix. For appendicitis, it is the standard treatment. When doctors suspect appendicitis, they may err on the part of safety and remove the appendix quickly in order to avoid the rupture.  If appendix forms the abscess, there are two procedures to go for – one to remove the appendix and other to drain out the abscess of fluid and pus. But there are some researches showing the acute appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics to avoid the requirement of surgery.

What to Expect?

Doctors will recommend antibiotics before appendectomy to deal with possible peritonitis. Usually, general anesthesia is given and the appendix is removed by laparoscopy or 4” incision. If you are suffering peritonitis, the abdomen is drained and irrigated or pus.  You may move around and get up within 12 hours of surgery. Usually, you can get back to normal within 2 to 3 weeks. If surgery is done using a laparoscope, the incision is smaller and you can recover quickly. After surgery, you should seek medical help if you suffer dizziness, blood in your urine or vomit, uncontrolled vomiting, higher pain in the abdomen, increased redness and pain in the incision, pus in the wound, or fever. Well, you cannot prevent appendicitis. But this condition is less common in those who eat fresh vegetables and fruits, and foods rich in fiber.

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