What is Inflamed Appendix?
The inflamed appendix or also known as appendicitis is a condition that needs immediate medical assistance. The appendix’ function to our body is not clear to all of us. But one thing is for sure, one can live without their appendix. The inflammation of the appendix should not be taken lightly. Prompt action is required in order to avoid complications.
This condition can be diagnosed through the following exams:
- Abdominal examination
- Urinalysis is important to rule out the possibility of urinary tract infection
- Rectal exam
- Complete blood count to identify presence of infection
- Ultrasound or sonography examination
Inflamed Appendix Symptoms
A person affected of appendicitis experiences the following symptoms below:
- Initial sign of appendicitis: Dull pain near the navel or at the right lower quadrant of the abdomen.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swollen abdomen
- High grade fever of 99° to 102°F
- Developing signs: Sharp pain that starts in the area of the abdomen then radiates to other parts of the body
- Painful urination or dysuria
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Constipation or diarrhea
Once these symptoms are experienced, a person should know that taking of analgesics is prohibited. This is because of the possibility of masking the pain experienced during a ruptured appendix. Giving of antacids and laxatives is also prohibited. The use of heating pads over the abdomen can only cause rupture.
A known complication arises when appendicitis is left untreated: Peritonitis is a life-threatening condition that develops after the appendix has ruptured. This results to the expulsion of the contents of the intestines to enter the stomach. This then results to infecting ones abdominal cavity to become infected because of the perforation of contents. The person affected should immediately ask for assistance to avoid sepsis and shock.
Other identifiable signs of appendicitis include:
- Abdominal guarding – this is also known as involuntary guarding that usually occurs when a patient being examined or when slight touch is inflicted to the patient.
- Rebound tenderness – the tenderness is felt by the client right after the examiner releases the applied hand pressure on the patient’s abdomen.
- Rovsing’s sign – positive Rovsing’s sign is attained when the patient feels pain on the lower right side of the abdomen when an applied pressure on the left side of the abdomen is released.
- Psoas sign – this can be tested when the examiner tries to resist the patient’s knee to rise up. This is done when the patient is at a supine position. The right lower quadrant of the abdomen is complained to be painful by the patient when the examiner does the action.
- Obturator sign – the examiner shall attain a positive obturator sign if the patient feels pain when he lies on his back with the right leg bent at the knee while moving it from left to right.
Inflamed Appendix Causes
The root cause of this condition is said to be fecaliths. The condition is generally caused by obstruction that leads to inflammation. Fecaliths are small hard stools that can cause blockage or serve as a foreign body. Cancer is also thought as one possible cause of the condition. The presence of parasites can also result to an inflamed appendix. An enlarged lymph tissue can be a source of obstruction. Digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause appendicitis. Trauma to the abdominal cavity can also start an inflammatory reaction, leading to a swollen appendix.
Those who are at risk for this condition are the young between the ages of 10 to 30 years.
Inflamed Appendix Treatment
Surgical removal of the appendix or appendectomy is the only known viable treatment for appendicitis. This is done in order to avoid for complications such as rupture of the appendix and the possibility of perforation. Before the procedure is done, the patient is still for evaluation. Diagnosis from the presenting symptoms and laboratory work are attained before a significant action. Antibiotics are also provided to patients prior surgery in order to treat the bacterial infection that has developed. This can be done with the use of incision while a new method has been improvised by using laparoscopy which presents fewer complications.
The said recovery period for this condition is approximately about four to six weeks. It is important to keep the patient in complete bed rest in the first few days. This then facilitates healing and proper tissue buildup.