Also known as the inflammation of the appendix, appendicitis is considered a medical emergency.
What causes appendicitis?
Any blockage in the lining of the appendix (it’s the narrow tube that comes out of the colon) can almost always lead to infection. Blockages can be due to bacteria, viruses, hardened fecal matter, ulcers, abdominal rips, parasites, or enlarged tissues.
When this infection is left unmanaged, the appendix can get so inflamed, filled with pus, and rupture.
A ruptured appendix can cause a spread of infection in the abdominal area (peritonitis). This is a potentially life-threatening situation that requires immediate surgery.
The signs and symptoms to watch for
Unlike other conditions, the signs and symptoms of appendicitis tend to show up quickly, usually within 4 to 48 hours after the problem occurs.
The signs and symptoms may include:
- Sudden onset of pain that begins at the lower right side of the lower abdomen
- Sudden onset of pain around the navel area and shifts towards the lower right abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Abdominal bloating
- Constipation or diarrhea
Although there are conditions that mimic some of these signs and symptoms, it’s important to see a specialist immediately to rule out appendicitis. Especially if you notice worsening of your abdominal pain or pain that comes with fever, don’t delay seeking medical attention.
Most cases of appendicitis are treated through a surgical procedure called appendectomy (removal of the appendix).
The general surgeons Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland are experienced in surgically treating appendicitis.
If you’re suffering symptoms and suspect your appendix may be inflamed, don’t hesitate to seek medical care at your local doctor or emergency department.