Appendicitis symptoms are often vague and unspecific. Diagnosing appendicitis can be a challenge to doctors since the symptoms are very non specific. The appendix is a 3 ½ inch tube-shaped tissue that extends from the large intestine. It produces antibodies. Its exact function in the body is not yet known. However, people do not need the appendix to survive.
An inflamed appendix is called appendicitis. Appendicitis can cause a medical emergency that requires the prompt removal of this tissue to prevent a fatal condition called peritonitis. Peritonitis is an extreme inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity caused by a burst or perforated appendix. Approximately 1 in every 15 people can develop appendicitis will require surgery to remove it. The most common ages for appendicitis occurrence is between 15 and 30. The cause for the inflamed appendix can be a blockage by the stool, a tumor or cancer. It can also become blocked because an infection somewhere else in the body since the appendix tends to swell when other infections exist.
Appendicitis symptoms may start off as a dull pain near the navel. Normally the pain will radiate down to the lower right section of the abdomen. Loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting normally coincides with this dull pain. Appendicitis symptoms can also involve a swelling of the abdomen and a fever of 99° F to 102° F. Many times the person will complain of not being able to pass gas as well. Pain upon urination, severe cramping, constipation or diarrhea may also be appendicitis symptoms. Other symptoms can include any kind of dull or sharp pain in the back or rectum. Vomiting sometimes precedes the abdominal pain.
To confirm the diagnosis of appendicitis the doctor must rely on blood tests, MRIs, computerized tomography and ultrasound tests. Unspecific cases of appendicitis are still difficult to diagnose even with these modern day testing tools.
Appendicitis symptoms in children are often accompanied with high fevers, intense sweating and chills. A medical doctor will typically perform a blood test analysis and an abdominal and rectal examination to help diagnose appendicitis in children. When the blood test points to appendicitis and other symptoms of appendicitis are present, the doctor will usually recommend surgical removal of the appendix. It is extremely important to take your child in the doctor any time they have abdominal pain or discomfort. Especially true if it is accompanied by vomiting and fever since these are common appendicitis symptoms in children. Very young children are not able to effectively communicate their symptoms so many times the appendicitis has progressed to the acute stage by the time children are diagnosed with it.
Elderly people over the age of 50 can develop acute appendicitis as well. Appendicitis symptoms in the elderly are perceived differently than they are in younger patients. By the time of appendicitis is accurately diagnosed in the elderly the condition usually has already developed into a state of gangrene or sepsis.
People who have chronic appendicitis may only have one or two of the above symptoms. Chronic appendicitis symptoms usually do not include a high fever. Some people who have chronic appendicitis may not even exhibit any symptoms at all and only complain of a general feeling of fatigue and of having discomfort in the abdominal area. Appendicitis symptoms in people who have HIV can be almost impossible to detect. It is also difficult to detect in people who have diabetes or who are obese and individuals that are being treated with immuno suppressive medication as well.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should go to your doctor immediately. It is recommended that you do not eat anything or drink anything before you go to the doctor in case emergency surgery is needed. You should not take any pain remedies either. Do not take laxatives or any antacids. No not use a heating pad on your abdomen because it can cause an inflamed appendicitis to rupture. Surgical removal of the appendix is the only treatment option.
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