Appendicitis

1 What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis refers to the chronic or acute inflammation of the appendix, the small pouch that is present in the lower right side of the large intestine.

Inflammation of the appendix causes pain, which often starts from the navel and proceeds to the lower part of the abdomen. Pain increases with the inflammation and becomes very severe and unbearable.

Appendicitis

It is most commonly seen in the age group of 10-30 years. Further, it more common among men when compared to women. Complications of appendicitis can be fatal.

If left untreated, appendix may rupture releasing the bacteria to the outer side. This may result in spread of infection throughout the abdomen. Surgical removal of the infected pouch is the conventional treatment method.

2 Symptoms

Most common symptoms of appendicitis are: 

  • A sudden shooting pain that is diffused initially and localizes gradually on to the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the abdomen that worsens with activity like walking or even coughing
  • Nausea and vomiting due to intestinal obstruction
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever that becomes severe with time
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating

3 Causes

The actual cause of Appendicitis is not known. Obstruction of the appendix that cause infection is implied in the development of inflammation in the appendix.

Obstruction may result from buildup of fecal matter in the pouch. It may also be caused by enlarged lymphoid tissues, worms, trauma, and tumors. The bacteria in the appendix multiply and leads to the formation of pus within the tissue.

Rupture of abdomen is a medical emergency. It leads to the inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal wall. It may lead to inflammation of other organs, including cecum, bladder, and colon.

4 Making A Diagnosis

Review of signs and symptoms is the best diagnostic measure for appendicitis. Physical examination is suggested to assess the severity of pain in the lower abdominal area.

Applying gentle pressure in the area worsens the pain. Stiffening of abdominal muscles in response to pressure applied during examination indicate inflammation of appendix.

Infection is checked by blood test. Urine test helps to differentiate kidney stones and urinary tract infection, two conditions that cause similar symptoms. Imaging techniques like X-ray, CT scan, and abdominal ultrasound helps in confirmation of diagnosis.

5 Treatment

There are many treatment methods for Appendicitis.

Antibiotics helps to remove infection. Surgical removal is the standard treatment for appendix inflammation. Surgery may be open method or laparaoscopy.

Laparoscopic surgery, in which the surgical repair is done through abdominal incisions, is more popular than open surgery. Recovery and healing is faster with laparoscopic surgery.

Open appendectomy is recommended for ruptured appendix. If appendix ruptures and forms an abscess, it is drained before the surgery.

6 Prevention

There are no standard ways to prevent appendicitis. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits help to keep the gastrointestinal system healthy and reduce chances of infection.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Several alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for appendicitis.

Belladonna, Rhus toxicodendron, Lachesis, and Bryonia reduces inflammation and pain.

High fiber diet keeps the system healthy and prevents infection.

Regular intake of water helps to flush out harmful substances.

Green gram, borage juice, and butter milk are the common home remedies suggested for appendicitis.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with Appendicitis.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is very important while caring for the patients. Regular enemas may help in detoxification and speed up the recovery.

Hydrotherapy helps to alleviate the symptoms to a certain extent. Patients should not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous physical activity.

9 Risks and Complications

Rupture of appendix that cause peritonitis is a serious complication of appendicitis. It may also lead to abscess formation when the appendix ruptures.

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