Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix suffers inflammation and causes abdominal pain and indigestion among other symptoms. Nearly 6 to 7 percent of the people across the world end up facing this problem, which also has a medical term- Appendix vermiformis. It requires prompt attention and an imminent surgery to remove the appendix.
Appendix is a tube like structure made up of tissues that stretches out of where the large intestine ends. It is usually between 2 to 4 inches long. It does not have a known or explicitly defined function in the human body, although there is a study that hints at its significance in the immunity of guts to an extent. But with past experiences and medical procedures, one can be certain that it is okay to remove it from the body without any visible effects.
It is always treated as an emergency because if ignored, an inflamed appendix may split open or puncture, consequently leaking contaminants and infections in the abdomen. This can lead to the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) to become inflamed as well. This condition is termed as peritonitis and can lead to death until treated with antibiotics. Thus, an immediate procedure for surgery is always put in place.
The symptoms of appendicitis can easily be mistaken for other disorders like constipation, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, pelvic or abdominal inflammatory diseases, and therefore, should not be taken lightly.
Appendicitis is often observed after an initial pain near the belly button. This then starts to grow down and to the right in the abdomen. This is the primary symptom preceding all others. It is intense, unbearable, and can even wake you up from slumber. It usually worsens in a few hours and coughing, breathing, sneezing, or any kind of movement becomes challenging.
This pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, indigestion, which can result in diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal swelling or mild fever. Different people may exhibit different symptoms and sites of pain.Some of them are : having loss of appetite, feeling of nausea and vomiting as soon as the abdominal pain begins, having abdominal swelling. Having fever of 99° F to 102° F, difficulty in passing gas and thus causing abdominal restlessness. Some may feel severe muscles cramps and may have painful urination.
Appendicitis can be caused by a lot of factors however nothing has been distinctly established. Some of them are as follows:
Spicy foods like hot peppers, salsa etc. can cause indigestion and discomfort. It can then result in indigestion, pain in lower abdomen and in some causes cases nausea. These can be the early signs of appendicitis. Some fruit seeds like tomato seeds and grape seeds can also be responsible for appendicitis but in rare cases. After the surgery of appendicitis, foods to be avoided are fried vegetables, red meat, pastries, sweets, whole milk, and alcohol.
Appendicitis can cause a lot of abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle cramps. Thus once diagnosed one should follow these precautions:
In case the surgery has been carried out following precautions must be executed by the patient:
As mentioned earlier, there is an overlap between the symptoms of appendix vermiformis and a number of other diseases like bladder dysfunction, infection in urinary tract, ovary issues, gastritis and Crohn’s disease. This is why it becomes confusing for the doctor to rely on the symptoms alone and has to resort to a standard set of diagnosis. This diagnosis is not so much about determining appendicitis but eliminating the possibility of other diseases and disorders.
Blood test and urine test are done to make sure there’s no infection in the body or urinary tract. Similarly, abdominal exam detects any kind of inflammatory diseases. Apart from these, rectal exams, CT scans and ultrasound tests are also conducted.
The standard method to treat this situation is appendectomy, which is the term given to the surgery for the removal of appendix. At the slightest hint of the existence of appendicitis, the doctors promptly opt for the surgery as a safety measure to prevent the inflamed appendix from bursting inside the abdominal cavity. In case the appendix has developed pus or an abscess, the doctors would first have to empty all the infectious fluids and pus formation and then follow up with the removal of the appendix, both the steps achieved through surgery.
There always exists a possibility of peritonitis and to prevent that, antibiotics are administered prior to an appendectomy. If peritonitis is diagnosed already, the entire abdomen has to be treated with antibiotics and then it is made free from the pus formation.
Appendectomy usually occurs through a 4 inch long slit in the abdominal skin. In laparoscopy, a laparoscope is used which a long thin tube like flexible instrument which can be used to view the interiors. Laparoscopy requires a smaller incision and convalescence is quicker. The surgery does not take its toll on the human body and allows normal movements and locomotion in not more than 12 hours. Recovery to regular, day-to-day functions usually takes 14 to 21 days.
Because appendicitis vermiformis is technically a medical emergency, it is not advisable to rely on natural treatments as a method to cure the ailment. However, some techniques may still come in handy when trying to keep up with the pain and uneasiness. A physician’s guidance should be sought, with medical processes being the primary treatment and the natural options adding additional benefits. Some of these natural methods are: