Appendicitis: Causes, Surgery, Recovery

Appendicitis is a kind of disease which involves a ruptured appendix.

Know more about appendicitis.

Appendicitis is a disease of one of the mysterious organs in the body: the appendix. No one actually knows the true function of the appendix. Some say the appendix is useless and is just a biological and physiological evolutionary mark. Others say that the appendix is what stores the “good” bacteria. These good bacteria are what protects the stomach from bad bacteria.

However, we do know one thing: we can live without it; without any consequences. But appendicitis still hurts. And it’s best to arrest it early before it gets any worse. However, if it does get worse, it evolves into peritonitis which is an infection of the stomach lining which needs strong antibiotics to treat.

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a kind of disease which involves a ruptured appendix. It first starts off as the appendix becomes inflamed from an infection. Usually, the infection takes the form of an “abscess” which is a kind of pus-filled sac that is untouchable by most antibiotics. As the damage gets worse, so does the appendix as it ruptures. When the appendix ruptures, the individual feels a sharp pain in the abdominal area. Sometimes, it can be mistaken as indigestion or gastrointestinal flu due to the cramps. However, the key to knowing if it’s appendicitis is where the pain is located.

Causes of Appendicitis

The main cause of appendicitis would be a blockage in the lining in the appendix. When there’s a blockage, there then gives bacteria a chance to multiply and change into pus. Once there’s pus, it becomes an abscess as it’s not popped and it’s internal. This isn’t curable by just any antibiotic. Once the appendix reaches its limit, the appendix then ruptures which leads to appendicitis and if not treated, it will lead to peritonitis.

Early Symptoms of Appendicitis

The first way to detect appendicitis is where the pain is coming from. If it’s coming from the left side, most people would check the stomach. Or, if someone’s coming from an intense exercise – the liver. That would make it either a bad case of indigestion, diarrhea, or something associated with the stomach. For liver, there are also signs such as yellowing of the eyes since the bile piles up. Or for exercise, a sharp stabbing pain due to the build-up of lactic acid.

Appendicitis starts from the right. It starts as a sharp pain that gradually worsens over time. However, the pain from appendicitis can also start at the navel before traveling towards the right. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain worsens that involves any kind of abdominal movement: Abdominal movement includes coughing, laughing, heavy breathing due to brisk walking, heavy breathing due to running, and obviously abdominal exercise.
  • Nausea or vomiting: This means that the appendix has already ruptured and your body is trying to remove the infection. When this happens, this already means that your appendix has ruptured. Act immediately because the detoxification is a battle against time.
  • Low-Grade Fever: When the infection progresses, your body is desperately trying to fight it off. And this is one of the effects. Because the body begins to heat up to sweat out the germs, people start to feel feverish. Certain medicines can at least alleviate the feverish symptoms along with certain antibiotics.
  • Loss of Appetite: Because the body knows its going to upchuck and one feels feverish, a person will lose their appetite. To compensate, best give them fluids as to keep the pH inside their body balanced. This also allows water-soluble nutrients to enter the body to keep it strong enough to fight the infection.

What’s the treatment for Appendicitis?

Unfortunately, once it ruptures: there’s nothing you can do. The only known way to cure appendicitis is via surgery. The surgical intervention is a means to prevent peritonitis which will require more antibiotics. Worst case scenario: it may also require long periods of hospitalization.

Recovery from Appendicitis

The recovery from appendicitis can vary in terms of duration. Depending on the severity of the surgery, it can take 1 week to almost 4 weeks of rest. However, some doctors also prefer waiting until one is off the narcotic pain-killers. This way, there will be no remaining side effects from the narcotic painkillers. This will also give them a chance to drain any fluid build up in the incision made from the surgery.

However, if you’re feeling dizzy and weak, that’s normal. Your body’s still recuperating from the damage from appendicitis. Plus, the vomiting made your body eject most of what your body needs to recovery: food. There are also times you’ll feel constipated and gassy which can be treated by drinking soda or anything carbonated. This would help you expel the gas and make you feel more comfortable. If with a diabetic condition, best you take sodium bicarbonate which is sold also as pills. This is often the cure to constipation, gassiness, and indigestion.

Don’t do also anything that involves heavy manual labor. This includes lifting heavy objects, carrying humans, and also most likely doing the groceries. If you have to do groceries, have a cart and a ramp with you so it’s easy to roll in and roll out.

For diet, you can eat anything. But as much as possible, take in a lot of fluids. Your doctor may recommend a non-oily, and low-fat diet. This is to compensate for your irregular bowel movement which may worsen when eating non-oily or fatty food.

Sources:

  • Addiss, D. G., Shaffer, N., Fowler, B. S., & Tauxe, R. V. (1990). The epidemiology of appendicitis and appendectomy in the United States. American journal of epidemiology, 132(5), 910-925.
  • >Alvarado, A. (1986). A practical score for the early diagnosis of acute appendicitis.Annals of emergency medicine, 15(5), 557-564.
  • Temple, C. L., Huchcroft, S. A., & Temple, W. J. (1995). The natural history of appendicitis in adults. A prospective study. Annals of surgery, 221(3), 278.
  • Styrud, J., Eriksson, S., Nilsson, I., Ahlberg, G., Haapaniemi, S., Neovius, G., … & Granström, L. (2006). Appendectomy versus antibiotic treatment in acute appendicitis. a prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial. World journal of surgery, 30(6), 1033.
  • Owen, T. D., Williams, H., Stiff, G., Jenkinson, L. R., & Rees, B. I. (1992). Evaluation of the Alvarado score in acute appendicitis. Journal of the Royal society of medicine, 85(2), 87.
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  • Körner, H., Söndenaa, K., Söreide, J. A., Andersen, E., Nysted, A., Lende, T. H., & Kjellevold, K. H. (1997). Incidence of acute nonperforated and perforated appendicitis: age-specific and sex-specific analysis. World journal of surgery, 21(3), 313-317.
    Humes, D. J., & Simpson, J. (2006). Acute appendicitis. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 333(7567), 530.

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