The appendix is tube of tissue that is connected to the cecum, a pouch-like part of the colon. Your appendix is located in the lower right quadrant of your abdomen. When your appendix gets inflamed, it fills with pus and becomes painful. This is called appendicitis.
Common Appendicitis Symptoms
If you think you may have appendicitis, you should act right away. Here are some of the most common symptoms of appendicitis:
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling nauseous
- Loss of appetite
- Bloating or distended stomach
- Gas with constipation or diarrhea
You should note that some of these symptoms may present differently in different people. For example, the abdominal pain may begin in the center of your lower abdomen, near your navel. This pain may sharpen as it moves to the lower right side of your abdomen.
There are also some signs of appendicitis that are less common, but still important to look out for. They may include:
- Pain in upper areas of the abdomen
- Pain in the back
- Pain in the rectum
- Pain while urinating
Why You Should Go to the Doctor if You Have Signs of Appendicitis
Appendicitis is not something you should ignore. If left untreated, appendicitis could cause your appendix to burst, which is potentially fatal. So if you or someone in your family is experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is best to go to a doctor for diagnosis right away.
Your doctor will likely begin with a physical examination while they ask you questions about the nature and duration of your pain. Next, your doctor may perform some tests, such as:
- Taking blood to check for potential infection
- Urine tests to see if the pain is due to kidney stones or a UTI
- A CT scan or abdominal ultrasound to see if your appendix is inflamed
Appendicitis treatment will depend on how severe your inflammation is. It is possible that you may just need antibiotics. It is also possible that you may need an appendectomy, which is surgery to remove the appendix. If your appendicitis is particularly bad, you may need to go straight into surgery.
Your surgeon may do an open appendectomy or a laparoscopic appendectomy, depending on how severe your appendicitis has gotten. An open appendectomy means that the surgeon only creates one incision on your lower right abdomen. The surgeon then removes your appendix and stitches you up.
A laparoscopic appendectomy means that multiple small incisions will be made on your abdomen and use it to insert a laparoscope, which is a tube with a camera and light on it. The surgeon will use the camera to see inside of you and guide the medial tools accordingly.
No matter which form of surgery you get, you should not have to stay in hospital too long, unless there are complications. Once your pain subsides, you should soon be able to go home and heal.
Appendicitis is very treatable and even if you have to get an appendectomy, a full recovery is likely. Your body can get along without an appendix, so even if you have to remove it, long-term issues are unlikely. So get to a doctor and get better soon!