Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Appendicitis can be regarded as a disease where a person’s appendix suffers an inflammation. A human appendix is basically a tube that is made up of tissues, is 3½ inches long and extends from the large intestine. Some studies suggest that there is a possibility that appendix plays a role in gut immunity. However, nothing has been proven definitely in this regard. The one thing that is known, however, is that it is possible to live without the appendix, with no apparent consequences of the same.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency where you need to perform a surgery straightaway so that the appendix can be removed. If you do not treat the condition, the appendix would either perforate or burst. In such an event, it would spill harmful materials onto your abdominal cavity. This can lead to a serious inflammation named peritonitis, where the peritoneum or the lining of your abdominal cavity gets affected. It has to be treated within a short span of time with strong antibiotics. Otherwise, it can be fatal as well.
At times, the burst appendix could also lead to the formation of abscess or pus. In this case, your appendix gets walled off from the remainder of the abdomen by the scar tissue. This stops the infection from spreading. Such an abscess can lead to peritonitis as well. In fact, this is the reason why such cases are always treated as emergencies and surgery is performed in order to stop any further damage.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
There are some classic symptoms of appendicitis. They may be enumerated as below:
- dull pain in the upper abdomen or naval area – it becomes sharp even as it moves to the lower right abdomen
loss of appetite
- vomiting and nausea after pain starts
- swelling in abdominal area
- fever of 99 to 102 Fahrenheit
- losing the ability to pass gas
However, appendicitis may also occasionally manifest through some other symptoms which appear only in a handful of cases. They are:
- sharp or dull pain anywhere in the lower or upper abdomen, rectum, or back
- difficulty in passing urine – pain in urination
- vomiting followed by abdominal pain
- severe cramping
- diarrhea or constipation along with gas
In case you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is always better to seek medical attention straight away.
Causes of Appendicitis
Appendicitis happens primarily because of a blockage in the lining of your appendix. It leads to an infection that happens to be the likeliest cause of this particular condition. Under certain circumstances, the bacteria multiply at a rapid rate and this leads to the appendix getting inflamed, swollen and filled with pus.
Treatment of Appendicitis
The standard treatment for appendicitis is appendectomy. It is basically a surgery that is done in order to remove the appendix altogether. Normally, when doctors suspect appendicitis, they tend to be extra cautious and remove the affected part so that it does not rupture or perforate.
In case there is an abscess formation found in the appendix, there are different lines of medical treatment available. The first one is pretty obvious – removing the appendix. In the second one, the extra fluid and pus are drained from the abscess. However, a few research studies suggest that acute appendicitis can also be treated by using antibiotics. If that happens, it may do away with the need to have surgery in some cases.