If you experience sudden pain that begins on the lower right side of the abdomen, a pain that begins around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen, and experience nausea and vomiting, then you may be having symptoms of appendicitis.

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an infection of the appendix. The appendix is the 3 ½-inch long tissue that extends from the large intestine. Although some studies suggest that this tissue may have a role to play in the gut immunity, medical science tells us that we can live without it.

What causes appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is blocked. This can be from a stool, cancer, or foreign body. The blockage may also be a result of another infection as the appendix swells in response to any infections in the body.

How to know if you really have appendicitis?

Some of the symptoms of appendicitis are similar to other gastrointestinal conditions. However, in many cases, patients with appendicitis present the following classical symptoms:

  • Dull pain near the navel that becomes sharp as it moves towards the lower right abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting (these usually occur soon after abdominal pain begins)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit

When to see a doctor?

If your symptoms don’t lessen or intensify, it’s important to see a doctor. You shouldn’t delay seeing one especially if you experience severe abdominal pain.

When left unmanaged, appendicitis can lead to serious complications like peritonitis (spread of infection throughout the abdomen) and abscess (a pocket of infection).

How is appendicitis treated?

An appendectomy (surgery to remove the appendix) is often the treatment for appendicitis. Antibiotics may be given before surgery to treat the infection.

In cases of a ruptured appendix, the appendix may be drained by placing a tube through the skin into the abscess. An appendectomy (removal of the appendix) will be performed several weeks after the infection has been controlled. 

Appendicitis can lead to life-threatening complications. If you suspect you have an infection in your appendix, it’s important to see a specialist immediately. Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville and Cleveland has well-experienced surgeons who can assess and treat conditions, including appendicitis. To request an appointment with a Premier Surgical physician near you, visit https://www.premiersurgical.com/request-appointment/, or call us at (865) 306-5775.