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Last Updated: May 27, 2020
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Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

About Symptoms Causes Precaution Diagnose Treatment Prevention

What is Appendicitis?

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.

What are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

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.

What are the Causes of Appendicitis?

Appendicitis can be caused by a lot of factors however nothing has been distinctly established. Some of them are as follows:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A blockage of the appendix opening,
  • A bloated tissue in its wall resulting from infections in the body,
  • Clogging of appendiceal lumen can cause this situation to escalate to this. Other causes may include parasites, stool and inflammatory diseases of the bowel.
  • Abdominal strain or injury is also a cause.

What Kind of Food Causes Appendicitis?

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.

What are Precaution Should be Taken in Appendicitis?

Appendicitis can cause a lot of abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle cramps. Thus once diagnosed one should follow these precautions:

  • 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. Avoid eating such food.
  • Consume foods that are digestible easily and are not causing discomfort.
  • Maintain proper health routine.
  • Take medicines on time and consult a doctor if there is any discomfort or pain.

In case the surgery has been carried out following precautions must be executed by the patient:

  • After the surgery of appendicitis, foods to be avoided are fried vegetables, red meat, pastries, sweets, whole milk, and alcohol.
  • Avoid stressful activities like bicycle riding, running , jogging, weight lifting, etc. until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Take bath after 24 to 48 hours of the surgery so that the incisions heal out by that time.
  • Take the regular medicines and have regular check-ups.

How Does a Doctor Diagnose Appendicitis?

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.

How to Treat Appendicitis?

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.

How to Prevent Appendicitis Naturally?

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:

  • Castor oil: It helps in decreasing inflammation and removing blockages in the appendages.
  • Ginger - It is highly effective in providing relief in nausea, vomiting, and has great effects on pain and inflammation.
  • Garlic - Garlic is a strong anti-inflammatory agent as well.
  • Fenugreek seeds - They do not let the intestinal mucus and waste to deposit, thereby reducing the threats of blockages and ulcers. Fenugreek seeds also help tackle the pain.
  • Fresh lemon - The mixture of honey and lemon is an elixir against indigestion, pain and constipation. It is also believed that it has immunity enhancement effect.
  • Basil - Not only is basil helpful against gas and perpetual digestive motion but also helps fight the fever that is also one of the symptoms of appendicitis.
  • Vegetable juice - It is always advised to drink vegetable juices or any diet rich in fibre for the overall intestinal wellness. Carrot or beet juices are the most easily available options.
  • Water - Irrespective of the condition of your appendix, drinking clean and sufficient quantity of water is always a bane. Eight glasses of water is just the right amount to keep the body functions and metabolism at their optimum pace.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello. I was diagnosed with a grumbling appendix 3 days ago and am currently on a 3 day course of ciprofloxacin. I have 2 tablets left to take and have yet to see any change in my symptoms. When do you think I should begin seeing results?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS Surgical
General Surgeon, Delhi
Grumbling appendix does not match any medical term. If you have appendicitis you need surgery. There is no medical treatment for appendicitis.
1 person found this helpful

On 9th October I have pain at my right side adobeman then Dr. said appendicitis 7.9 mm after 3 days I have done my cycle scan whole adobeman the appendicitis size 5.6 mm so what will I do operate or not?

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Fellowship in Advanced Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Surgery
General Surgeon, Kota
When acut appendicitis occure its inflammed that why size increase but after medication its normal but when 1st attack of appendicitis occure than 2nd attack more dangerous even some time life-threatening so you can go for elective laproscopic ape...
5 people found this helpful

Sir, there's done my appendix surgery 6 months before. My middle abdominal having 13 stitches (staple) I've started doing gym after 5 months. Nowadays I'm feeling too much pain in my abdominal. What should I do? Please suggest me any diet or medicine. Please. Should I workout at this moment? Please suggest me.

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Diplomate of National board in Surgical Oncology
General Surgeon, Kolkata
Hi lybrate-user please stop working. Take adequate rest atleast 6 months. After which light exercises are recommended Follow your doctors advice.
1 person found this helpful

Hello doctor I got surgery last year that was appendix operation with laparoscopic .I am getting pain in testes. Doctor said that stitches compressed with nerve .what was the treatment of compressed nerve lower abdominal please tell me.

MS - General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery(FMAS), Diploma in Advanced Laparoscopic surgery, Training in Laparoscopy, Advanced training in laparoscopic hernia surgery
General Surgeon, Srinagar
Hello there is no such entity that stitches compressing nerve after lap appendectomy. Kindly get your scrotal USG done and consult another surgeon for a second opinion. Get one urine examination done too.
4 people found this helpful

5 months before there's done appendix surgery on my stomach middle section having 13 stitches. I want to start a gym now. Like lifting heavy weights. Does it will affect on my surgery? Having muscular body is my goal. Please consult me.

MBBS, MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Agra
In five months wounds heal. Still as you have very large wound, you can start gym very slowly with abdominal belt in place. Let me know your progress.
2 people found this helpful

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DNB (General Surgery),FICS,MBBS,MS - General Surgery,FCCP (USA)
General Surgery
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