Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

However, if the infection has spread due to the bursting of the appendix, a larger incision is made to clean the infection. Antibiotics are administered thereafter.

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a painful medical condition where the appendix gets inflamed, swollen and filled with pus. The appendix is a small, 3 ½ inches long (finger-shaped) tube that extends from the large intestine and appears on the right side of the abdomen. The role of the appendix is not definitely known but there was a study that suggested it might play a role in gut immunity. While we don’t know its specific purpose, we cannot live without it too, without facing adverse consequences.

Appendicitis is a very common problem in the US and about 5% of American will face it at some point in their lives. Appendicitis is more common in males than in females occurring between the age of 10-30 years. Although appendix does not have any specific purpose (since nothing much is known about yet), if left untreated, it can cause the appendix to burst resulting in a fatal infection.

Cause of Appendicitis:

The exact cause of appendicitis is not known. Doctors believe that an obstruction in the appendix may cause appendicitis. It can be a partial or a complete obstruction requiring emergency surgery. Accumulation of faecal matter is often the cause of the obstruction. The other factors that might cause obstruction are –

  • Worms
  • Trauma
  • Enlarged lymphoid follicles
  • Tumours

The obstruction leads to bacterial formation and pus. This compresses the blood flow leading to gangrene.

Symptoms of Appendicitis:

The most common symptom of appendicitis is indigestion and gas-related pain. You might feel that gas is trapped; hence it gets difficult to understand if the pain is due to gas or appendicitis. With a mild gas-related pain, doctors recommend taking an OTC gas pain relief medication to see if the pain goes away. However, if the pain is excruciating and very discomforting, you see a doctor asap.

The other symptoms of appendicitis are:

  • Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen
  • Pain around the bellybutton
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Trapped gas and inability to pass it
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Low-temperature fever
  • Constipation

Appendicitis can also affect your urinary habits.

Usually, appendicitis is associated with abdominal pain, but at times it may radiate to the back and the sides. It worsens with movement of coughing.

Symptoms of Appendicitis in teens:

The advanced symptoms of appendicitis are the same in teens as in adults. However, it might begin differently. It often starts as a vague pain in the area around the navel and gradually progresses to the lower side of the abdomen. The other associated symptoms might be

  • Low-temperature fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nauseated feeling, vomiting

Diagnosis and treatment of Appendicitis:

Most of the patients with appendicitis do not have similar symptoms and that makes diagnosis difficult. Blood tests, urine test, and ultrasounds can detect the condition of the appendix and if there is an infection.

For a mild infection, appendicitis is often treated with normal antibiotics, but according to the extent of appendicitis, the doctor considers removing the appendix with laparoscopic surgery.

However, if the infection has spread due to the bursting of the appendix, a larger incision is made to clean the infection. Antibiotics are administered thereafter.



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