How to Identify the Symptoms of Appendicitis

Appendicitis Pain Location

Appendicitis refers to a condition where your appendix becomes inflamed. Interestingly, this condition may be acute, but it can also become a chronic problem. And when ignored, it can lead to an appendix rupture. So, let’s take an in-depth look at the appendix and appendicitis. What does this condition look like? What should you know?

Understanding the Appendix

The appendix is located in the lower right abdomen at the intersection of the small and large intestines. It’s fairly small, usually coming in at about four inches in length. And surprisingly, it doesn’t have much function in the human body. The one popular theory regarding the appendix is that it is used as a place to store ‘good’ bacteria. Meanwhile, many others believe it is just a byproduct of evolution, and that it may have had uses in the past but today, it’s no longer necessary.

Yet, when the appendix becomes inflamed, it can create immense amounts of pain, as well as more serious problems. If the appendix bursts, bacteria are unleashed into your abdominal cavity. This can cause serious health problems, and sometimes, even death.

Interestingly though, appendicitis can be a chronic or acute condition. Acute appendicitis comes on suddenly. Typically, you will develop pain or symptoms over a couple of days. Chronic appendicitis, on the other hand, may involve symptoms coming and going over several weeks or months. Often, chronic appendicitis is harder to diagnose and may go undiagnosed until the appendix ruptures or the pain becomes very severe.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

What should you look out for when it comes to appendicitis? How does one recognize the appendicitis pain location? Here are the common symptoms:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen and/or lower right abdomen
  • A loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Digestive issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
  • Difficulty passing gas
  • Slight fever

This condition might start out as a mild pain that progressively gets worse. The appendicitis pain location frequently begins in the upper abdomen and then moves to the lower right side. If you feel any sort of tenderness or pain here, contact your doctor. If your appendix bursts, it can quickly escalate and become a serious and urgent medical problem.

Factors that contribute to a higher risk of appendicitis include age, (typically, it occurs in individuals aged 15 to 30 years, sex (it is more common in males) and family history. If someone else in your family has had appendicitis, you are also more likely to have it.

The Causes of Appendicitis

Sometimes, the cause isn’t known. However, most often, a blockage may happen in the intestines or lining of the appendix, such as backed-up stool, enlarged lymph nodes, worms, tumors or from injury. This then leads to infection causing inflammation and pain. When the appendix becomes inflamed and pus builds, it can burst — unless it is treated properly.

Treatment of Appendicitis

Typically, appendicitis treatment involves the removal of the appendix. Since we don’t know the use of the appendix and have found no vital use for it, it is a fairly straight-forward procedure.

You are put under general anesthesia. From there, an incision is made in the lower right abdominal area. A special tool is then inserted which successfully removes the appendix.

Other treatments that may be used include draining of the abscess, antibiotics, pain relievers, IV fluids and a liquid diet. However, it’s very rare that appendicitis will improve and often surgery is required.

Following surgery, various precautions must be taken. These include:

1. Limiting and avoiding any strenuous or intense activity. Ideally, you want to limit your activity for about two weeks after surgery. Your doctor will usually outline the activities they want you to avoid and when you can resume them.

2. Adequate rest. Rest helps your body fully heal and recover. Since your body is busy recovering, you may feel more drowsy than normal. As such, sleep when you feel you need to and take the proper time to rest and recover. Give your body this time to heal.

3. Providing support to your abdomen when you cough, laugh or sneeze. While coughing, laughing or sneezing can’t entirely be avoided, you can provide support to avoid unnecessary stress on your abdomen region. Use a pillow or a similar soft object to hold your abdomen when you cough, laugh, sneeze or move in ways that cause pain.

Usually, it takes several weeks to recover from surgery and resume your normal activities. Ensure you always follow the advice of your doctor or surgeon.

Preventing Appendicitis

While you can’t entirely prevent appendicitis, there are certain things you can do to ensure good digestive and overall health. Some experts indicate that eating a diet high in fiber may lower your risk. Excellent and healthy sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice, lentils, beans and other legumes.

Overall, the best you can do is take care of your general health and well-being. Ensure you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Move regularly. Reduce the stress in your life. Be proactive when it comes to your health and you may lower your risk of developing illness.

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