How does Appendicitis Happen?
The appendix – which is located on the lower right part of the stomach, particularly at the start of the large intestine – is a finger-like structure with no definite function. Appendicitis is characterized by the inflammation of the appendix, and once it occurs, there is no other way to treat the condition, but to have the appendix removed through surgical procedure known as appendectomy. Because there is no effective medical therapy to reduce the inflammation of the appendix, every case of appendicitis is therefore considered as a medical emergency. The good thing about appendicitis, however, is that when treated and management has been conducted promptly, patients recover without complications and additional difficulty.
Unfortunately, if appendicitis becomes worse, it could lead to sepsis and eventually, death. It is the most common cause of acute abdominal pain and the usual population affected is between 10 and 30 years old. The exact cause of appendicitis is unknown, but technically, it happens when there is an obstruction inside the appendix that results to increase in pressure over time. Over time, the blockage leads to decreased blood flow causing inflammation. This blockage causes pain ranging from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the inflammation. If the inflammation becomes prolonged, it leads to rupture and/or gangrene – the common cause of sepsis and death in patients.
This post on appendecitis is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage severe medical emergencies sign up for first aid training with a credible provider near you.
What Symptoms are Usually Felt by Patients with Appendicitis?
- Localized abdominal pain – newly inflamed appendix causes pain the belly button, but if the inflammation is ignored, the pain becomes more severe and radiates to the lower right part of the stomach.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to eat; weak appetite
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fever that begins after pain has been felt
- Swelling of the abdomen – this is the most severe symptom, because it indicates that the inflammation has worsened and the appendix has possible ruptured
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Surgery is the primary treatment for appendicitis. Appendectomy is the term for the surgical removal of the appendix after it has become inflamed. Surgery depends on the severity of the appendicitis. The inflamed appendix is removed through laparoscopic surgery or abdominal incision. When the ruptured appendix has burst, however, a draining tube is usually inserted to remove excess pus in the abdomen. Afterwards, patients are given antibiotics to reduce the likelihood of infection.
Having a good education about appendicitis can help you prevent the complications from becoming worse. You may need to see a doctor if the pain in the abdomen radiates from the belly to the right lower quadrant, which is also accompanied by low-grade fever. You need to seek medical assistance if these symptoms do not go away after a couple of days or if the pain becomes more severe. With the right knowledge, you can prevent appendicitis from taking a toll on your life or someone else’s life.
Related Video on Appendicitis:
“Appendicitis.” U Health. Retrieved online on June 8, 2014 from http://uhealthsystem.com/health-library/nontrauma/condhub/append
“Appendectomy.” Medline Plus. Retrieved online on June 8, 2014 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002921.htm