How to Recognize a Case of Appendicitis
Do you know how to distinguish a common abdominal pain or stomachache from a case of appendicitis? If not, it will be difficult to know if you should go to the hospital or not. So today we’re going to show you some ways to detect appendicitis. Don’t miss it!
Appendicitis always occurs suddenly and without warning, so it’s very important to know the symptoms. Appendicitis is very dangerous if you don’t seek medical attention quickly, since the appendix can rupture and cause a case of peritonitis.
The most important symptom of appendicitis to know is a strong abdominal pain, in conjunction with other symptoms that don’t seem as important and that we’ll talk about later in the article. Everybody should get to know these symptoms and be aware of the risk of suffering an attack of appendicitis.
What is appendicitis?
The appendix is a small organ that looks like a sack, located in the abdomen, and attached to the start of the large intestine. When the appendix swells up and gets inflamed, it can become filled with pus, causing a terrible pain, which is known as appendicitis.
It’s very important to know that the appendix stands out from the colon and is located in the lowest part of the abdomen. We still don’t quite know why humans have the appendix or what it does, but what we do know is that it can cause quite a big problem when it gets inflamed.
As we mentioned before, the pain of appendicitis is very strong and generally starts around the navel. As the hours go by, the pain generally becomes more intense and moves to the lower part of the abdomen, on the right side. When the first symptoms appear, there are generally about 12 to 18 hours of intense pain, but after this time period the situation gets worse and can become quite dangerous.
Who can suffer from appendicitis?
Everybody, no matter what age, can suffer from an attack of appendicitis at any time, although appendicitis most often happens in people who are between ten and thirty years old. However, appendicitis can also happen in older adults or even in very young children.
What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
It’s necessary to get a diagnosis of appendicitis in a short time because the treatment for this condition is quite complicated, especially in children and older adults, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. As we mentioned earlier, appendicitis can become quite serious in a short amount of time and treating it must be done very urgently, and so even the life of the person suffering from it can rely upon a proper diagnosis.
The most common symptoms show up at the beginning of appendicitis and get worse as time goes by. The most recognizable symptoms are the following:
- Pain that starts around the navel and moves position as time goes by
- Pain the gets more intense or unbearable as you apply pressure to the area
- Strong pain in the abdomen, especially on the right side or in the back
- Fever that gets stronger as time goes by
- Lack of appetite
What are the causes of appendicitis?
There are many different causes of appendicitis, although the most common cause is an obstruction in the appendix, most often caused by a settlement of food or feces, or by an infection. Appendicitis can also happen after a gastrointestinal infection.
No matter what caused it, bacteria will multiply very quickly, which will allow infectious material and fluids like pus to fill the appendix, causing inflammation and possible rupture of the appendix.
What complications can happen?
The most worrisome complication occurs if the inflammation isn’t treated in time, nor in a correct and immediate manner–the appendix can burst and all of the infectious material that was inside can flow into the abdomen and cause peritonitis, which can be fatal. For this reason, the most used treatment is surgery to extract the appendix before it can cause any complications.
Other potential complications of appendicitis are the formation of a fistula, an abscess, or an infection in the affected area.
How can I be sure that this pain is appendicitis?
- If you have a pain in your belly-button area which later moves back and to the right, gets much worse quickly as time goes by, and becomes much more intense if you press on the area
- If you have an intense fever
- If you vomit or have diarrhea, especially if there’s blood in it
- If your abdomen feels hard, or if there are pains in your chest or neck
- If you feel pain when you urinate
- If you feel dizzy
If you feel some or all of these symptoms you should immediately and urgently go to a hospital, since appendicitis will require treatment, otherwise you could find yourself with very extreme complications that may even put your life in danger, and that’s not an exaggeration. A large number of people have lost their life because they didn’t take the time to go to the hospital, thinking that it was simply a case of indigestion that they could treat with herbal tea; meanwhile, while they waited for the herbal tea to take effect, their appendixes burst and infected all of the organs in their abdomen, and caused a case of peritonitis, which in most cases is fatal.
Appendicitis, sadly, is impossible to prevent, but the important thing is that you know how to avoid the complications that will show up if you don’t immediately see a doctor as soon as you realize that the symptoms we’ve told you about above are appendicitis.
We don’t think that after learning about the signs and symptoms of appendicitis that you should worry about every little pain that happens, but now that you know the risks and dangers of leaving appendicitis untreated, we hope you’ll agree that it’s better for a doctor in the emergency room to tell you that you don’t have appendicitis than it is for a doctor to tell you that it’s too late and there’s nothing they can do.