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What is Appendicitis?

What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis means your appendix is inflamed. Appendix is a finger shaped pouch which is attached to your colon.

What are the causes of Appendicitis?

It is an emergency medical condition which needs prompt treatment. Most often it occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by feces, a foreign object, a tumor or a parasite.

What are the symptoms of Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is hard to be detected in young children, older people, and women of childbearing age.

The first symptom is often pain around the mid-upper abdomen. It may be minor at first but later becomes more sharp and severe.

Other symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever.

The pain is in the right lower part of your belly. The pain tends to focus at a spot directly above the appendix called McBurney point. Pain most often occurs 12 to 24 hours after the inflammation of appendix.

Your pain will get worse with movement like walking, coughing, or making sudden movements.

At later stage other severe symptoms presents as:

  • Chills and tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • High Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting

How your doctor will examine you?

Your doctor may suspect appendicitis based on the symptoms you describe. He/She will do your physical exam. 

  • Your pain will increase when your lower right abdomen is pressed.
  • Your belly area will become extremely tender if your appendix gets ruptured which will lead to tightening of your abdomen like a hard board.
  • Tenderness may be present on the right side of your rectum during digital rectal examination.

Which tests will your doctor ask for Appendicitis?

Most commonly your doctor will ask you for a blood test which will show raised WBCs(White Blood Cells).

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Imaging tests will help to diagnose appendicitis. These include:

  • CT scan of the abdomen
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen

What treatment options are available for Appendicitis?

Mostly your appendix will be removed by surgeon. You may need antibiotics first if you have abscesses. Once the infection is gone then surgeon will remove the appendix.

The operation may show that your appendix is normal because imaging isn’t completely reliable. In that case, the surgeon will explore the rest of your abdomen for other causes of your pain.

What’s the Prognosis?

Mostly patients recover quickly after surgery but If your appendix ruptures before surgery, recovery may take longer. You are also more likely to develop complications such as:

  • An abscess formation
  • Intestinal blockage
  • peritonitis
  • wound infection post-surgery

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