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Dr QM Leong

What Are The Symptoms Of Appendicitis? [As Of 2023]

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a small organ attached to the large intestine. You may be wondering, can the appendicitis pain come and go? What are the symptoms of appendicitis? What’s the cause of appendicitis? How is appendicitis diagnosed?

In this article, we’ll talk about appendicitis, the symptoms, the causes, and treatment:

Appendicitis is characterised by pain in the lower right abdomen, typically beginning close to the navel. In the beginning, the pain may come and go and worsens over a few hours.

Indications that your abdominal pain is due to appendicitis:

  • Your discomfort starts abruptly, perhaps waking you from sleep.
  • Your pain gets worse when you move, cough, or breathe deeply.
  • Your discomfort is acute, but the abdominal pain is severe
  • Pain that suddenly develops near the navel and frequently transfers to the lower right abdomen.
  • sickness and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • Fever may become more severe as the illness advances.
  • Constipation or loose stools
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Flatulence

Depending on your age and the location of your appendix, the location of your discomfort may differ. Due to the elevated position of the appendix during pregnancy, the discomfort may begin in the upper abdomen.

What Causes Appendicitis?

appendix pain symptoms

The cause of appendicitis is unknown. According to medical professionals, it occurs when a portion of the appendix becomes obstructed, resulting in an infection. Rapid bacterial multiplication causes the appendix to become inflamed; if left untreated, the appendix ruptures.

Numerous factors can obstruct the appendix, including:

  • Accumulation of calcified stool 
  • Intestinal nematodes
  • Traumatic injury
  • Cancer

If you have appendicitis, the symptoms won’t go away until you get treatment or surgery. If you or a loved one exhibits early symptoms of appendicitis, a medical emergency is needed.

The appendix might burst 48–72 hours after the onset of symptoms. The symptoms can pose significant health risks, especially if an infection causes appendicitis. A ruptured appendix can have the bacteria travel to the abdomen, causing severe abdominal pain, which will require a medical emergency.

Appendicitis can result in serious complications, including:

  • A perforated appendix. A rupture disperses infection throughout the abdominal cavity (peritonitis). This potentially life-threatening condition necessitates prompt appendectomy and abdominal cavity cleansing.
  • The accumulation of pus in the abdomen. If your appendix ruptures, you may have an infection pocket (abscess). A tube is inserted through the abdominal wall to drain the abscesses. The infection is treated with antibiotics while the tube remains in place for around two weeks.

Following the elimination of the infection, you will undergo appendectomy surgery. In some cases, the abscess is drained, and the appendix is removed right away.

Symptoms of a ruptured appendix include widespread abdominal pain, lower right abdominal pain, and a fever of approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Are Appendicitis Diagnosed?

can appendicitis pain come and go

To aid in diagnosing appendicitis, your doctor will likely take a medical history and examine your abdomen.

Physical examination to evaluate your pain. Your physician might apply light pressure to the uncomfortable spot, and upon quick release of pressure, you might feel pain, which will indicate irritation of the adjacent peritoneum.

In addition, your physician may check for abdominal tightness and a tendency to tense abdominal muscles in reaction to pressure over the inflamed appendix (guarding). Your physician may use a gloved, lubricated finger to inspect your lower rectum (digital rectal exam). Women of childbearing age may undergo a pelvic examination to check for gynaecological issues that could be causing the pain.

Other medical procedures that can help in diagnosing Appendicitis:

  • Blood test. This enables your physician to examine your white blood cell count, which may suggest an infection.
  • Urine test. Your doctor may request a urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract infection or kidney stone as the source of your pain.
  • Imaging testing. Your physician may also order an abdominal X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm appendicitis or identify alternative reasons for discomfort.

How Are Appendicitis Treated?

what causes appendicitis

Appendicitis is often treated through surgical removal of the swollen appendix (appendectomy). Before surgery, antibiotics may be used to prevent infection.

Antibiotics may be used to treat appendicitis if the condition is mild enough. Appendicitis usually necessitates appendectomy, the surgical removal of the appendix. Although the appendix’s precise role is uncertain, the body may operate without it.

Appendectomy can be conducted as an open procedure through a 2 to 4-inch (5 to 10-centimetre) long abdominal incision (laparotomy). Alternatively, the procedure might be performed via a few minor abdominal incisions (laparoscopic surgery). 

In general, laparoscopic surgery facilitates a quicker recovery with less discomfort and scars. It may be more beneficial for the elderly and obese.

However, laparoscopic surgery is not suited for many patients. 

Suppose your appendix has ruptured, the infection has gone beyond the appendix, or you have an abscess. In that case, your surgeon may need to perform an open appendectomy to clean the abdominal cavity.

Expect to remain in the hospital for one or two days following your appendectomy.

Draining An Abscess Before Appendectomy

As an inflamed appendix ruptures, an abscess will form around it, but it can be drained by inserting a tube. Several weeks after eradicating an infection, an appendectomy can be performed.

Lifestyle And Natural Treatments

Expect a few weeks of recovery following an appendectomy or longer if your appendix ruptures. For your body’s healing: 

Initially, avoid intense activities. If your appendectomy was performed laparoscopically, rest for three to five days. If you’ve had an open appendectomy, you should limit your activity for ten to fourteen days. Ask your doctor about activity restrictions and when you can resume typical activities following surgery. 

When coughing, support your abdomen. To alleviate pain, place a cushion over your abdomen and apply pressure before you cough, laugh, or move. 

Call your physician if your pain meds are ineffective. Pain adds stress to the body and slows down the healing process. Call your doctor if you are still in pain despite taking pain medication. 

When you’re ready, get up and move. Start slowly and gradually raise your activity level as you feel able. Start with little strolls. Sleep when exhausted. 

As your body heals, you may experience increased drowsiness. Take it easy and relax as necessary. Discuss returning to school or job with your physician. 

You may return to work whenever you feel able. Children may be able to return to school after surgery in less than a week. Two to four weeks should pass before resuming vigorous activities, such as gym classes or sports.

Alternative Medicine

After your appendectomy, your doctor will prescribe drugs to help you manage your pain. Some complementary and alternative treatments can aid pain management using conventional drugs. 

Ask your physician about safe alternatives such as listening to music and conversing with friends. Take your mind off your discomfort. Distraction can be particularly useful for children. Guided imagery, such as closing one’s eyes and visualising a beloved location can also help.

Conclusion About Symptoms Of Appendicitis

Make an appointment with your primary care physician if you experience abdominal pain. You will likely be hospitalised and referred to a surgeon for appendix removal if you have appendicitis.

Get in touch with Dr. QM Leong, or learn more about his specialisations in gallstone removal, anal fissures, hernia surgery, cyst removal, peptic ulcers, and other changes in bowel habits.

Frequently Asked Questions About
The Symptoms Of Appendicitis

Initially, the pain may come and go, but if appendicitis is the reason, it will worsen over a few hours.

Appendicitis can readily be mistaken with other conditions, including:

  • Gastroenteritis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Constipation
  • urinary tract or bladder infections (UTI)
  • Crohn’s disease

However, any illness that produces persistent stomach pain demands immediate medical care.

The majority of appendicitis cases occur between the ages of 10 and 30. Having a history of appendicitis in your family may increase your risk.

There’s no way to prevent appendicitis; however, people who eat fruits with high fibre are less likely to get appendicitis.

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