What is an Appendicitis?

The Appendix is an organ in the body that is believed to have lymphatic or immune properties. But truthfully, even with all the known science and medicine, we still aren’t completely sure what or if the appendix does.

The appendix is located in the small intestines. It sits at the junction of the Small Intestines and Large Intestines. It is at the lower right side of the abdomen.

Appendicitis is a term that speaks to an Inflammation problem of the appendix.  -itis means inflammation. This can be from a number of issues such as bacteria, trauma, blockage, or another cause. Often, the blockage starts out as mucus, stool, food, or other sources of the blockage. Bacteria began to multiply in this trapped area. This can affect the lining of the appendix.

Sometimes the blockage is serious enough that surgery is required. In some cases, the appendix “bursts” prior to treatment. This can become a medical emergency and there have been cases of death associated with this condition.

The Great Mimicker

The problem with the diagnosis of appendicitis is that most patients have different symptoms. Often pain in the right lower quadrant, but you could have left lower abdominal pain or flank pain or sometimes even testicle pain. There are often other symptoms that are associated with such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, fever, chills, and more.

When you go to the Emergency Room or your doctor – they might start pushing on the stomach. Sometimes the pain is worse when pushing in, but most often, the pain is worse when the doctor lets go of your stomach. Sometimes, they push on the left side of your stomach and you have right-sided pain. They may push your legs, hit the bottom of your foot, and much more.

Sometimes the diagnosis of Appendicitis is straight forward – but often it is not.

The pregnant female who has an appendicitis will often have similar symptoms as a non-pregnant female. They may have a sudden and severe increase in heartburn, gas, and bowel issues.

Can Symptoms in Children be different than Adults?

Yes.

Children, especially small children, may not be able to describe abdominal pain. They might be hunched over, unwilling to walk, bloated stomach, and vomiting.

Other Necessary Medical Tests

1.)  Medical Examination

2.)  Blood work
–  Often they are looking for infection or the body’s response to an infection
–  The White Count is a main portion of the blood test

3.)  CT
–  The combination of X-ray and the computer to evaluate if the appendix is inflamed or ruptured.

4.)  Ultrasound
–  Sound waves to check if the appendix is enlarged

5.)  Other tests

Does all Appendicitis require surgery

No.

Surgery is an option but some patients will respond to antibiotics. Some patients have chronic appendix issues. They get a blockage that lasts for a few days then resolves. These patients are often followed closely while on antibiotics or during the process. If they don’t improve – they will likely have surgery.

But, when the pain or infection becomes serious enough – surgery is often the chosen treatment choice. It can be done through laparoscopy with several small cuts and a quicker recovery. A single large cut takes longer to heal from.

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