There are few things more distressing than personal health issues or the ill health of a loved one. Unusual aches and pains can cause a person to lose sleep, especially if they have a family history of health adversities. If it’s your child who’s suffering the worry increases exponentially.
One of the most common conditions resulting in surgery in the United States is appendicitis.
What Is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a tube-shaped organ located between the large and small intestine, on the lower right side of the abdomen. It’s about four inches long, and its purpose is a mystery. In fact, removing it won’t have any negative consequences on a person’s health.
What Causes Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is caused by abnormal bacterial growth in the intestines which can result from a bowel disease such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease for example. It can also be a result of fecal blockage or trauma to the abdomen.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
There are several signs of appendicitis:
- Abdominal bloating
- Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen
- Pain that radiates through the upper or lower abdomen, back or rectum
- Pain worsens when taking a deep breath or coughing
- Pain worsens when walking
- Inability to pass gas
Do note that pregnant women may feel the pain higher than other patients, and the pain may start around the navel in teenagers.
Do not use enemas or laxatives to relieve the pain, as they can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.
Appendicitis Diagnosis and Treatment
When experiencing the symptoms above, see a doctor. Your medical provider will apply gentle pressure on the abdomen. If the pain worsens when the pressure is released, the doctor may order imaging and blood tests, as well as a urine sample to confirm appendicitis.
Treatment is rather straightforward: The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and will likely schedule surgery to remove the appendix. Post surgery, the patient is usually released from the hospital after a day or two.
When recovering from surgery, take ample time to rest for the first two weeks. Ask your doctor about which activities to avoid. In general, they will include anything that involves strenuous exercise. If you have to cough, place a pillow over the abdomen.
When preparing meals, opt for foods high in fiber, which will help your body regulate bowel movements. This will relieve temporary constipation that a patient experiences after surgery.
If left untreated, the appendix can rupture. As a result, the bacteria in the appendix will spread throughout the abdomen and cause peritonitis, which can be life-threatening.
Appendicitis Risk Factors
Sometimes, people get appendicitis for reasons unknown. However, the following characteristics may increase the likelihood of developing the condition:
- Being between the ages of 10-30
- Family history
- Having cystic fibrosis
- Being male
There is nothing you can do to prevent appendicitis.
24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas
If you believe that you or a loved one may have appendicitis, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.
Find the Complete Care location nearest you.