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Appendicitis- All you need to know
27 Dec 2021
Appendicitis- All you need to know image

Appendicitis is a medical condition where the appendix, a small tube-shaped part becomes puffed up and filled with pus causing severe pain. Carelessness can cause chronic appendicitis which results, the appendix bursting and the pus spilling into the abdominal cavity.

This bacteria containing pus in the abdomen can cause serious issues and are sometimes fatal. In this article, we are going to see all that you need to know about the appendix including its symptoms, causes, and treatment. 

What are the early warning signs of appendicitis?

If you are experiencing appendicitis, you may possess one or more of the following symptoms such as:

  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain in the belly button
  • Pain associated with the lower right side of the abdomen
  • Food aversion
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Convulsion
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Uneasiness

You may feel a cramp in the abdomen during the start of appendicitis and this cramping can grow to severe pain over time. So if you have any symptoms or you suspect that you are having appendicitis, you should immediately stop taking laxatives.

Laxatives are a type of medicine that is very useful to empty your bowels. Using laxatives at the time of having appendicitis can result in the bursting of the appendix and thus leading to severe health complexities.

According to health experts, a person can have appendicitis symptoms for 48 to 78 hours before it bursts. So seek medical help as soon as possible if you have any signs or symptoms related to appendicitis.

What triggers appendicitis?

Till now, the exact cause of appendicitis is unknown. But health experts believe that appendicitis occurs when a part of your appendix is congested or blocked. Many factors can trigger appendicitis and some of them are:

  • Expanded lymphoid follicles
  • Intestinal worms
  • Traumatic injury
  • Tumors
  • Hardened stool

Bacterial growth can also be a result of appendix block. Heavy bacterial growth results in the formation of pus and thus painful pressure in the abdomen.

How is appendicitis diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you have appendicitis, then your condition is evaluated using several tests. But there is no single test available for diagnosing appendicitis. Some of the common tests may include:

Physical check

The first and foremost procedure that your health expert uses to diagnose appendicitis is by physical checking. During the physical check, your doctor may check for tenderness in the lower right side of the abdomen.

The physical test is the key to all other tests. So your doctor will only advise you to undergo other tests based on physical tests. 

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

A complete blood count determines if there is an infection in your body. Appendicitis can result in bacterial infection in the body.

To conduct a CBC test, a sample of your blood is collected. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis or simply a urine test is a method to diagnose pancreatitis. It is also performed to test urinary tract infections or kidney stones that can occur as part of the symptoms of pancreatitis. 

Pregnancy test

Sometimes ectopic pregnancy(Condition where fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus) can be mistaken as appendicitis.

If your health expert is suspicious that you are having an ectopic pregnancy, then you will have to undergo a pregnancy test. This test is conducted by collecting your blood or urine sample.

Sometimes the preferred method used for pregnancy tests is transvaginal ultrasound. So this method is useful in detecting the correct location of the implanted egg.

Abdominal imaging tests

To check the tenderness of your appendicitis, your doctor may recommend you to undergo image testing of your abdomen. There are a variety of abdominal imaging tests. And some of the common abdominal imaging tests include:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Chest imaging tests

Sometimes pneumonia is a major symptom of appendicitis. If your medical health expert suspects that you are having pneumonia as part of appendicitis you will have to undergo chest imaging tests such as CT scan or chest X-ray.

Pelvic exam

In females, the symptoms are due to an ovarian cyst or pelvic inflammatory disease. Some conditions could also affect reproductive organs. So a pelvic exam is used to examine the health of reproductive organs.

What is the treatment for appendicitis?

There are a variety of options to treat appendicitis. But depending upon the condition, your health expert may choose any one or more treatments. Some of the most common treatment methods include:

  • Surgery to remove appendicitis
  • Surgery to drain pus
  • Pain relievers
  • Antibiotics
  • IV fluids

How can we prevent appendicitis naturally?

There is no proven way to prevent appendicitis. But there are some natural methods that we could consume in our diet to reduce the risk of appendicitis are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables 
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Oats and whole grains

Appendicitis is a serious issue to consider. So if you suspect that you are having any symptoms of appendicitis, you should immediately consult a general practitioner or a pediatrician. Taking treatment for appendicitis in the early stage can avoid many complications.

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