Appendicitis is the inflammation and irritation of the appendix. The appendix is an organ that has an unknown function. However, some experts believe that this organ helps us digest food, heal from diarrhea, and fight off illnesses.
When a person’s appendix is irritated or inflamed, it causes pain and discomfort that can worsen over time. Thankfully, appendicitis is rarely a serious or life-threatening condition. However, that is because appendicitis is usually caught early on. If it is not, then it can become severe and harmful.
Almost everyone with appendicitis will have their appendix burst eventually. There is no way to stop the condition once it starts, except by removing the appendix.
Causes of Appendicitis
There is not much known about the appendix, which includes how or why appendicitis develops. People usually develop appendicitis between the ages of 10 and 30. It is rare to see an older individual with the condition.
One of the potential causes of appendicitis is blockage. How it occurs has yet to be determined, but researchers are still looking into it. A blockage of the intestines can cause bacteria to develop and multiply. This surplus of bacterium eventually evolves into an infection, that results in a pus-filled inflamed appendix.
There are no at-risk groups of people that are more likely to develop this condition. It is a confusing illness that still leaves medical professionals baffled. However, there are complications that can arise if appendicitis goes untreated for too long.
Potential Complications of Appendicitis
The complications that arise because of appendicitis are severe. They include a ruptured appendix and pockets of pus in the abdomen. Although it is true that we do not need an appendix to live, if it bursts because of appendicitis, the bacteria and pus filling the appendix will spill out and spread throughout the rest of the body. This is potentially fatal and severely painful. An individual with a burst appendix may show signs like:
- Pain in the right side of the body
- Stabbing, lower stomach pain
- Blood in urine or stool
- Pockets of pus
The real danger with these pockets is if they burst. The gut system is very fragile. If bacteria enter in the form of pus, they can easily spread throughout the body. The good thing about pus, though, is that it stays in one pocket. This makes it easier for a medical professional to get rid of it before offering surgery.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The appendicitis symptoms that you should watch out for regarding appendicitis are:
- Extreme pain that starts on one side of the body and then spreads
- Blood in urine or vomit
- Sweating or chills
Diagnosis of Appendicitis
To get a proper diagnosis, you need to go to the doctor or a medical professional as soon as possible. The symptoms listed above are severe and indicate that something is wrong.
Your doctor will likely start off by asking about your family history and the symptoms. If they think the symptoms are severe enough, they can schedule an MRI or X-ray to take a better look at your appendix. Once they review the scan for any inflammation or a burst, they can then make a diagnosis properly.
However, some doctors may also require a blood test. The blood test takes a look at the white blood cells. If there are many, it means that an infection is present.
If your doctor finds appendicitis during its first few stages, they may offer surgery to remove the appendix before it bursts or worsens. However, most of the time, the symptoms are not severe enough to be seen on imaging and are not noticeable until the appendix has burst.
How to Treat Appendicitis
There are two ways to treat appendicitis. The first one is having surgery to remove your appendix. If it has burst or does not respond well to treatment, it still needs to be removed. Thankfully, we can live long lives without our appendixes. While it may aid in digestion, it is not a crucial part of our bodies. There is no way to completely repair an appendix once it has burst or is irritated.
Surgery cannot happen, however, if there are pockets of pus and infections. It must be treated first before surgery can be complete. Typically, medical professionals can get rid of the pockets by draining them.
If there is pus and fluids throughout your abdomen from the organ bursting, then your doctor may need to first clean that area before proceeding with surgery. Never try and treat this condition at home — there are no at-home cures. You can manage the symptoms though, especially after recovery.
How to Manage Appendicitis
Recovering from surgery takes time. Thankfully, there are ways that you can cope and recover quickly at home. Some management techniques include eating light and bland foods. Since your body is adjusting to not having an appendix anymore, you need to let it adjust without stressing it out.
Experts reveal that you should wait between 10 to 14 days before doing any extreme exercise. You should be resting in bed after the surgery, so your body can recuperate its energy and get used to the absence of your appendix.
There are a few lifestyle changes that need to be made after the surgery as well. This includes changing your diet to a healthy one, rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables. According to some experts, you should also switch from white rice to brown and from all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour. Thankfully, with treatment and some management techniques, people can live long lives without their appendices.
Conclusions on Appendicitis
All in all, appendicitis is a gut health condition that is severe and needs treatment right away. Appendicitis affects the appendix and typically means that the appendix is suffering from irritation and inflammation. Although this may not sound bad, the condition can worsen and lead to your appendix bursting, which floods bacteria and infections into the rest of your body.
The only cure and treatment to get rid of appendicitis fully are to take out your appendix. With a few lifestyle changes, including consuming a diet rich in fruits and fiber, people can live happy lives without their appendices.
- Do stomach pains and appendicitis feel the same? No, appendicitis will be located at the left bottom corner of your stomach. Though, you should always be on alert as many do confuse appendicitis and stomach cramps.
- Why is appendicitis commonly misdiagnosed? Appendicitis is commonly misdiagnosed in non-pregnant women who are entering childbearing age. Appendicitis can also be mistaken for UTIs.
- Can appendicitis go unnoticed? Yes, appendicitis can go undiagnosed for weeks, months, or even years. Though, acute appendicitis will usually rear its head in only 24 hours.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!