What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis refers to inflammation of the appendix. It usually begins with pain near the belly button and then moves to the right side. There are a few possible causes of appendicitis. Typically, it is brought on by blockage in the appendix that may be due to a foreign body, stool, or even cancer.

When to See a Doctor

Because some of the symptoms associated with appendicitis are similar to those experienced with indigestion, some people ignore it or attempt to manage it through over-the-counter medications, only to end up with more complications. If untreated, the appendix can rupture and cause an abscess or systemic infection.

One way to find out if you have more than just gas-related pain is to see if you have these other symptoms as well:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pain around the belly button

If you experience a couple of these symptoms, then it’s best to see a doctor. The doctor can do a thorough physical assessment and conduct more tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Managing Appendicitis

Surgery is the standard treatment for acute infection of the appendix. Antibiotic treatment might be used as an alternative for specific patients.  Appendectomy is the standard treatment for appendicitis. It is a surgical procedure done to remove the appendix.

An appendectomy will remove the infected organ and relieve pain. If the appendix has formed an abscess, another procedure may be required in conjunction with appendectomy. This procedure is done to drain the pus and the fluid before the appendix is removed. Once the appendix is removed, appendicitis will not happen again. The risk of not having the appendix removed, is that it can sometimes burst, resulting in an abdominal infection. Antibiotics are usually administered before appendectomy to prevent peritonitis.

Premier Surgical’s surgeons have specialized knowledge and skills relating to the diagnosis, pre-operative, operative and post-operative management of appendicitis. To learn more about appendicitis and appendectomy, download this Patient Education Form from the American College of Surgeons.