What is appendicitis?
The vermiform appendix is a small finger like out pouching of the intestines attached to Caecum at the beginning of the large intestine and near the ending of the small intestine. It has a blind ending and its
open end communicates with the caecum. It can get inflamed and the condition is called appendicitis.
What causes appendicitis?
Inflammation of the appendix results from blockade of its communication with the bowel lumen. This can occur due to faecal matter, worms or uncommonly some foreign objects or a tumour in its vicinity.
How does one know that one has appendicitis?
It can occur at any age during one’s life time and could be tough to diagnose during the extremes of age and women of child bearing age. The first symptom is often pain around the central abdominal area. Initially, the pain may not be very intense, but it tends to become more severe within a short span of time. As the swelling in the appendicitis increases, the pain tends to move towards the right lower abdomen. Subsequently it tends to get over a point corresponding to the anatomical location of appendicitis.
The initial symptoms are also usually preceded by loss of appetite and associated with nausea, vomiting, and fever. As the severity of the condition increases one may find it difficult to fold the thigh on to lower abdomen, walk comfortably and change posture. Any sudden movement can worsen the intensity of pain. Later on the fever increases and chills and rigors may appear with high fever. Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting may also worsen with the condition.
How is the diagnosis confirmed?
appendicitis is best diagnosed by the clinical examination and observations by a doctor. However, an ultrasound scan of the abdomen is helpful by way of eliminating other conditions which could mimic appendicitis. Complete blood counts and routine urine examination are the other useful diagnostic tests. Sometimes, a CT scan of the abdomen may also be got done to confirm the condition.
What is the treatment for appendicitis?
Surgical removal of the inflamed appendicitis is the only sure treatment for this condition. These days this operation is usually done laparoscopically through three small keyholes made in the umbilical and lower abdominal areas. The operation is best done within first 48 to 72 hour after the onset of first symptoms.
What happens if operation is not done?
As the time passes the abdominal organs around the appendicitis tend to gather around it forming a lump. This is the nature’s mechanism to wall off the infection from spreading in the abdominal cavity. Sometimes, the appendicitis ruptures causing the spread of infection in the abdomen or the process gets contained resulting in an abscess formation.
What can be the ill effects on body after removing the appendicitis?
Whereas there can definite complications of not removing a diseased appendicitis here are practically no ill effects after on the body after its removal.
Can the operation be medically deferred?
Under certain conditions for a given patient the operation may be postponed for sometime but eventually it has to be done. These conditions could include a delay in presentation and/or detection of appendicitis, patient being in an inaccessible or remote area or some other medical issues not conducive for anaesthesia and surgery. In this condition antibiotics and intra venous fluids are given to be followed by very soft diet till the gravity of the condition gets controlled and the clinical condition has improved.