If you’ve ever had a bout of flu and felt like all your energy was being drained, then you might be familiar with the feeling of appendicitis. Like most diseases that affect the digestive system, this is one that can present itself in different ways, but often has some common indicators.
The most obvious sign of appendicitis is abdominal pain, usually on the right side of the abdomen. This may come on suddenly and become quite severe, or it could be more gradual and only really bother you for a short period of time before subsiding again. In fact, the pain may not even occur at the same time every day, or even week by week. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, constipation or diarrhea, fever, and general malaise.
These are all fairly common signs of appendicitis, but there are also other less prominent ones that can give us a hint as to what’s going on. For example, you may experience an upset stomach if the appendix is inflamed, or perhaps have trouble passing urine or faeces due to pressure from the swollen appendix.
Finally, another indication of appendicitis is a change in bowel habits – either diarrhoea or constipation – which would make sense since the appendix does play a role in digestion. However, these symptoms aren’t always present, so they wouldn’t necessarily lead you to suspect appendicitis.
Another symptom is a lump under the skin over the belly button (known as an umbilical hernia) and this can sometimes indicate something else entirely, such as inguinal hernia. Similarly, bloating around the belly button can also suggest an issue with the intestines or colon, but again, these symptoms don’t mean that appendicitis is definitely happening.
You might also be wondering about, where is your appendix this is mainly located in between of your small intestine which is also known as cecum and the large intestine which is known as colon. The appendix is having a small tube like structure which is almost look alike of a finger. It can also be removed with the help of a surgery.
So, now that you know what the symptoms of appendicitis are, how do you go about diagnosing it?
What Is Appendicitis?
When we say ‘appendix’, we’re referring to the small pouch located in the lower part of the large intestine and behind the stomach. It functions mainly as a storage area for waste products, including food particles and undigested bacteria from our diet. It’s also responsible for producing bile, which helps break down fats in our food, and antibodies which help fight infection.
While it’s important for our health, it can cause problems when it becomes inflamed or infected. When this happens, the inflammation causes the walls of the appendix to thicken and swell, making it hard for the contents inside to move freely through the body. As a result, they start to build up and press against other nearby structures, causing discomfort and pain.
It’s worth noting that the appendix isn’t normally a source of pain in its own right – it’s actually more likely to be painful when inflamed. So, while any abdominal pain should prompt further investigation, this doesn’t mean you have appendicitis; it just means that you need to look into the possible reasons for your discomfort first. Once you’ve ruled out serious issues like gallstones, you may still require treatment for an inflamed appendix.
As with many medical conditions, it’s important to get tested by a doctor if you think you have appendicitis. Otherwise, you run the risk of waiting too long before getting the necessary intervention, which can increase the likelihood of complications developing.
Testing For Appendicitis
Before we go into detail about how doctors test for appendicitis, let’s take a brief look at where it occurs in the body. Most cases of appendicitis happen in the upper part of the colon, with the majority occurring below the “umbilicus” (the belly button). If you feel pain below the navel, it could be coming from the appendix, although it’s more likely to originate elsewhere.
Other locations for appendicitis include the pelvis, groin, armpit and thigh. While these areas are rare, they do happen and can be a complication of appendicitis rather than the cause of it.
In terms of testing for appendicitis, blood tests will show elevated white blood cell counts, C-reactive protein levels and/or erythrocyte sedimentation rate. An ultrasound scan may also be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Doctors can use CT scans to identify fluid surrounding the appendix, as well as to differentiate between various types of abdominal pain. Ultrasound scans, meanwhile, provide a detailed picture of the appendix and any surrounding organs, and can detect both gas bubbles and fluid within them. They can also be used to monitor the progress of treatment.
Treatment Of Appendicitis
The treatment of appendicitis depends on several factors, including the severity of the condition. If the appendix is already infected, then antibiotics are prescribed, along with pain relief and rest. If the appendix is mildly infected and hasn’t caused any real damage, then it simply needs to heal naturally. However, if the appendix has ruptured, then surgery may be required to remove it.
Surgery involves removing the appendix and closing the hole afterwards to prevent any further leakage. Depending on the severity of the rupture, a drainage tube may also be inserted to allow for continued drainage until the wound heals on its own.
Following surgery, patients will typically need to stay in hospital for a few days or weeks in order for their bodies to recover. Antibiotics are usually given post-surgery to avoid infections, and a patient’s recovery is monitored carefully to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
There are some other things that you can do to speed up the healing process after appendicitis. For instance, drinking plenty of water is beneficial because dehydration can delay the healing process, as can consuming foods rich in vitamin B6, which is needed to produce collagen. You can also eat high-fiber foods to help keep the bowels moving, and try taking a magnesium supplement if you feel nauseous or dizzy during recovery.