Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever or chills, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea…these are all symptoms that may be suggestive of appendicitis. While these symptoms could also be indicative of other health problems such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Diverticulitis, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, they are not symptoms that should be ignored. In this article we’re going to take a closer look at appendicitis, why it occurs, and what can be done in terms of treatment.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, a narrow, tube-shaped organ that is attached to the large intestine on the right side of the lower abdomen, becomes inflamed and causes pain as a result. Appendicitis typically occurs in individuals who are between the ages of 10 and 40.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and loss of appetite are all symptoms that are indicative of appendicitis. However, the symptoms of appendicitis can differ in children than adults. While abdominal pain is the classic symptom that a child with appendicitis will complain of, it is not uncommon for that pain to also be associated with the flu, food poisoning, or constipation. Another telltale sign of appendicitis is sharp pain that occurs when pressure is placed onto the abdominal area and worsens when that pressure is released. An individual with appendicitis may also have an elevated white blood cell count. If white blood cells are elevated, this suggests that an infection is present. If abdominal pain persists for longer than a day or worsens in a short period of time, it is important that you do not ignore it and instead seek the opinion of a physician immediately. Walk-in clinics like Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, where Dr. Ali Ghahary practices, are well-equipped to deal with patients who may be experiencing these symptoms. In addition, emergency rooms in and around Vancouver also treat acute cases of appendicitis, and patients may be referred by their physician to an ER for further treatment if it is a suspected emergency. It is important to note that symptoms of appendicitis may not always present immediately or as they normally should, sometimes making it a difficult condition to diagnose.
|Patients with appendicitis commonly experience LRQ (lower right quadrant) pain|
If left untreated, appendicitis can become a life-threatening condition. When the appendix becomes infected or inflamed, bacteria begins to multiply rapidly until the muscular wall of your appendix becomes to thin that it eventually ruptures, resulting in bacteria-laden pus to ooze into your abdomen. If your appendix ruptures, doctors will try to treat it by draining pus from the abdomen as well as prescribing a course of antibiotics for 6 to 8 weeks. However, in most cases, the appendix will need to be surgically removed to avoid further complications – this is known as an appendectomy. An appendectomy can be performed two different ways – as an open surgery, which is done by cutting 2 to 4 inch incision into the abdomen, or via laparoscopic surgery, which is done through a few smaller incisions and guided via a video camera into the abdomen.