Appendicitis

What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is basically an inflammation of the appendix, a vestigial organ found in the lower right side of the abdomen. It is a medical emergency and it requires prompt surgery without which the appendix will burst spilling infectious substances in the abdominal cavity. Appendicitis is most common between the age group of 10 to 30 and is very rare under the age of 2.

Causes of Appendicitis

It occurs because of the blockage that is caused due to stool or a foreign body or may be even cancer. The blockage may also be caused due to infection in the body since the appendix generally is found to swell in response to any infection.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

The typical symptoms of Appendicitis are as follows:

  • Acute pain near the naval or upper abdomen.
  • Nausea or vomiting tendency.
  • Swelling of the abdomen.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • High fever.
  • Sometimes there may be sharp or dull pain in the upper or lower abdomen, back or rectum.
  • Problem in urinating.
  • Severe muscle cramps.
  • Constipation or Diarrhea.

In case of the above symptoms timely treatment is very much essential. One should not drink or eat any laxatives or antacids and should abstain from using any heating pads which might cause the inflamed appendix to rupture.

Treatment of Appendicitis

Appendicitis can only be treated by Appendectomy which is the surgical removal of the appendix. A four inch incision is performed on the patient via Laparoscopy. The patient is generally on his feet by the next twelve hours after the surgery and can get back to work within two to three weeks. The patient is generally given antibiotics before the operation as prevention from possible peritonitis.

Diagnosis of Appendicitis

To help diagnose Appendicitis the Doctor first asks for the patients’ history and the symptoms. Further tests and diagnosis are as follows:

  • Gentle pressure is applied by the Doctor on the painful area. The patient generally tends to stiffen the abdominal muscle in response to the stimuli. This is a possible sign for Appendicitis.
  • An examination of the lower rectum is done using a lubricated glove finger.
  • In case of a pregnant woman a pelvic examination is necessary.
  • Blood Test is carried out to check for a possible infection.
  • Urine Test is conducted to check for urinary tract infection.
  • Other diagnosis tests include X-Ray, abdominal ultrasound or Computer Tomography (CT). Any one of these may indicate the cause for the abdominal pain.

Precautions and Prevention of Appendicitis

There are no particular precautions or prevention for Appendicitis as the disease can occur in anybody. But it is mostly found in people with sedentary lifestyle with low fiber rich diet, high sugar, heredity and infection.

Treatment Cost for Appendicitis

A typical Appendectomy in United States of America may cost in between $10,000 to $35,000 depending on the hospital, the Doctors’ fees and the kind of operation performed that is whether the surgery performed is Laparoscopic or open operation.