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Home » Columns » How to recognise Appendicitis!

How to recognise Appendicitis!

Publishing Date : 10 July, 2017

Appendicitis remains one of the common causes of surgical emergencies. It is defined as the inflammation of the appendix; a small worm-like organ that extends from the large intestine (commonly known as lela la sukiri).


It has been known for long that appendix is a redundant organ that does not serve any role, but one recent study suggests that the appendix may have some role in gut immunity. One of the best pieces of evidence we have had for this suggestion is some 2012 study that found that individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a recurrence of Clostridium difficile colitis - a bacterial infection that causes diarrhoea, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain.


It has been reported that about 5- 7percent of Americans will experience appendicitis at some point in their lives. Appendicitis can happen at any time, but it occurs most often between the ages of 10 and 30. It is more common in males than in females. If a person gets appendicitis and they do not get treatment for it, the appendix can get infected with the subsequent infection getting into the blood (sepsis) or the appendix rupturing, which are both life-threatening situations. Always seek immediate medical attention if you think you may have appendicitis.

 

Red flags

 

  • Dull pain around the navel that becomes sharp and excruciating and  moves to the right lower abdomen (this is usually the first sign)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive upset  (nausea and/or vomiting) soon after abdominal pain begins
  • Inability to pass gas, constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling on the right lower side
     

If you have any of the symptoms above seek medical attention immediately, because timely diagnosis and treatment is very important! Do not eat, drink, and take over-the-counter pain medications, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads which can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture. Pain medications can also mask appendicitis symptoms and make it harder for the doctor to make a quick diagnosis.
 

Causes of appendicitis


The cause for appendicitis is unknown in most cases. It is believed an infection or an obstruction in the appendix may cause appendicitis. Obstruction may be either partial or complete. Complete obstruction is a cause for emergency surgery. Obstruction is often due to;

  • accumulation of fecal matter
  • enlarged lymph tissue
  • worms
  • trauma
  • tumors

 

Treatment of appendicitis
 

Treatment for appendicitis varies. Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendicectomy, is the standard treatment for almost all cases of appendicitis. Your doctor can perform this procedure as open surgery or through laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a key hole procedure that is less invasive, making the recovery time shorter. However, open surgery may be necessary if one has an abscess or peritonitis.
 

In very rare cases, appendicitis may get better without surgery. This is only an option if your abdominal pain is minimal and your diagnostic tests are normal. In this scenario, your treatment plan might only involve antibiotics and a liquid diet until your symptoms resolve.
 

Prevention of Appendicitis
 

There is no known prevention measure for the disease, but the chance of getting it may be reduced by consuming foods high in fibre and practicing good hygiene.

For comments or questions please email agboima@yahoo.com

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