Appendicitis

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Aug 6, 2017 | 692 views

 

Appendicitis
APPENDICITIS is an inflammation of the appendix, a 3 1/2-inch-long tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine. One study suggests that the appendix may have some role in gut immunity, but nothing is definite. One thing we do know: We can live without it, without apparent consequences.

Appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. Left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to peritonitis, a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity’s lining (the peritoneum) that can be fatal unless it is treated quickly with strong antibiotics.

Sometimes a pus-filled abscess (infection that is walled off from the rest of the body) forms outside the inflamed appendix. Scar tissue then “walls off” the appendix from the rest of the abdomen, preventing infection from spreading. An abscessed appendix can perforate or explode and cause peritonitis. For this reason, almost all cases of appendicitis are treated as emergencies, requiring surgery.

In the US, one in 20 people will get appendicitis. Although it can strike at any age, appendicitis is rare under age two and most common between ages 10 and 30.

What Causes Appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body, or cancer. Blockage may also occur from infection, since the appendix can swell in response to any infection in the body.

What Are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

The classic symptoms of appendicitis include:

Dull pain near the navel or the upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen. This is usually the first sign.

Loss of appetite

Nausea and/or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins

Abdominal swelling

Fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit

Inability to pass gas

Almost half the time, other symptoms of appendicitis appear, including:

Dull or sharp pain anywhere in the upper or lower abdomen, back, or rectum

Painful urination and difficulty passing urine

Vomiting that precedes the abdominal pain

Severe cramps

Constipation or diarrhoea with gas

If you have any of the mentioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately, because timely diagnosis and treatment is very important. Do not eat, drink, or use any pain remedies, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads, which can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.

How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing appendicitis can be tricky. Symptoms of appendicitis are frequently vague or extremely similar to other ailments, including gallbladder problems, bladder or urinary tract infection, Crohn’s disease, gastritis, intestinal infection, and ovary problems.

The following tests are usually used to help make the diagnosis:

Abdominal exam to detect inflammation

Urine test to rule out a urinary tract infection

Rectal exam

Blood test to see if your body is fighting infection

CT scans and/or ultrasound

How Is Appendicitis Treated?

Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy, is the standard treatment for almost all cases of appendicitis.

Generally, if appendicitis is suspected, doctors tend to err on the side of safety and quickly remove the appendix to avoid its rupture. If the appendix has formed an abscess, you may have two procedures: one to drain the abscess of pus and fluid, and a later one to remove the appendix. However, there is some research showing that treatment of acute appendicitis with antibiotics may eliminate the need for surgery in certain cases.

Appendectomy: What to Expect

Antibiotics are given before an appendectomy to fight possible peritonitis. General anaesthesia is usually given, and the appendix is removed through a 4-inch incision or by laparoscopy. If you have peritonitis, the abdomen is also irrigated and drained of pus.

Within 12 hours of surgery you may get up and move around. You can usually return to normal activities in two to three weeks. If surgery is done with a laparoscope (a thin telescope-like instrument for viewing inside the abdomen), the incision is smaller and recovery is faster.

After an appendectomy, call your doctor if you have:

Uncontrolled vomiting

Increased pain in your abdomen

Dizziness/feelings of faintness

Blood in your vomit or urine

Increased pain and redness in your incision

Fever

Pus in the wound

Can Appendicitis Be Prevented?

There is no way to prevent appendicitis. However, appendicitis may be less common in people who eat foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. — webmd,com

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