What do you know about appendicitis? Probably not much. The word means “inflammatory appendix” and is a disease of the intestines that affects children more often than adults, according to the Mayo Clinic. If an appendix gets inflamed or infected, it might swell up and cause pain in your abdomen. Symptoms include cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.
Although appendicitis can happen at any age, it’s most common during childhood; some studies suggest that it has decreased over time since childhood.
Most people who have appendicitis don’t need surgery, but if symptoms aren’t treated properly, they can lead to serious complications. Surgery is usually recommended when appendicitis doesn’t improve with conservative treatment for three days, or when the diagnosis isn’t clear after other tests.
Here are more facts about appendicitis.
What causes appendicitis?
Appendicitis is caused by infection from bacteria or viruses. In some cases, foodborne germs get into the body through contaminated water or food. But in most cases, appendicitis happens when there’s an acute infection somewhere else in the digestive system, possibly from a virus or bacteria. It can also be associated with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The appendix is part of the digestive tract located behind the stomach and attached to the first section of small intestine. Its main function is to store food. When bacteria or viruses enter the appendix, inflammation begins. This inflammation may spread throughout the abdominal cavity, causing swelling and even rupture.
Other factors that increase the risk of appendicitis include obesity, smoking, and a history of appendectomy, which may weaken the immune system.
Symptoms of appendicitis range from mild to severe, depending on whether the appendix ruptures. If the appendix bursts, you will likely feel sharp abdominal pains radiating to your back. You may also experience nausea, loss of appetite, and sometimes bloody stools. Severe appendicitis may require hospitalization.
If your appendix remains intact, you may notice abdominal discomfort, especially around the lower left side of the belly, without obvious signs of appendicitis. These kinds of symptoms are called nonspecific and are considered alarm symptoms of appendicitis because they’re found in only half of all cases.
However, these symptoms should never go away or worsen over time. If you suspect appendicitis, see your doctor right away.
Some people also stated that the appendix pain for them was nearly an experience to their death. The pain was unforgettable for them and they don’t want that much pain and suffering again in their life. If anybody’s case gets worse that it is not being cured with the help of medicines than the last option is to have a surgery in which doctors will remove appendix.
Are babies born with appendicitis?
Yes, but very rarely. Babies typically develop appendicitis later in life, usually between ages 6 and 15, though it can occur earlier. Children who are younger than 6 months old are more susceptible to developing appendicitis because their immune systems haven’t fully developed yet.
How long does appendicitis last?
Appendicitis may take anywhere from two to seven days to heal. Treatment consists of antibiotics and rest. Sometimes, doctors perform an operation to remove the appendix, but this is rare as well.
Is appendicitis contagious?
No, it’s not. Appendicitis is not a communicable condition, and it has nothing to do with sexually transmitted infections.
When is appendicitis diagnosed?
A doctor diagnoses appendicitis based on symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may order blood tests and imaging tests, including x-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds. He or she may also ask about your family history, diet, recent travel, or sexual activity.
Can appendicitis be cured?
Yes, appendicitis can be treated successfully with antibiotics and rest. However, if the appendix bursts before it’s removed, it requires surgery.
What is the cost of appendicitis?
Appendicitis is one of the most expensive gastrointestinal conditions in the United States. The average cost of treating an appendicitis patient is $6,400 per episode, with an additional $900 for each day of hospitalization, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
What are the risks of having surgery to treat appendicitis?
Surgery to remove the appendix carries risks of postoperative complication, which includes bleeding, infection, wound disruption, bowel injury, and organ damage. For example, you could be at increased risk of kidney failure if your appendix ruptured while you were being treated for appendicitis. Another concern is recurrence, which occurs when the appendix returns to its original size.
If you had appendicitis in the past, your doctor may recommend removal of your appendix to prevent future episodes. You can also reduce your risk of appendicitis by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Smoking increases your likelihood of developing appendicitis, and quitting smoking can help decrease your risk of developing appendicitis.
What are the benefits of surgery for appendicitis?
Surgery may be required if appendicitis fails to respond to antibiotic therapy and bed rest. Surgery may also be needed to prevent further complications, such as obstruction or abscess formation.