Appendicitis Symptoms

Learning about Appendicitis Symptoms can help save your life!

Some of the Appendicitis Symptoms are abdominal pain and abdominal muscle spasms. Other related signs are loss of appetite and pain on defecation. These are just some signs which are often experienced by the younger generation, and there are others that are in common with many digestive diseases. However, appendicitis also have unique signs and symptoms to help you determine if you have it, so you seek early treatment.

But before delving on the topic, let us be oriented with the organ involved-the Appendix. The appendix is actually a small, fingerlike accessory about 10 cm in length, attached to the cecum. The appendix is filled with food, and these are emptied into the cecum. Due to its small lumen and to its inept emptying, it is very prone to obstruction and very susceptible to infection.

How Appendicitis Begins

Appendicitis is usually due to an infection caused by its occlusion with a foreign body, or by a hardened mass of stool, which causes the appendix to become inflamed and edematous. When this occurs, bacteria attacks the appendix, and cause its death. The inflammatory process progresses and increases the intraluminal pressure, producing a severe periumbical pain. This pain will then localized in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen within a few hours. If left untreated, the inflamed appendix will be filled with pus and other appendicitis symptoms will become more evident.

Appendicitis Symptoms and Signs

Appendicitis symptoms and signs are actually very easily detectable. The pain produced is usually sharp and discrete in the Right Lower Quadrant of the abdomen. It is also accompanied with low grade fever, nausea and sometimes even vomiting. Loss of appetite is also very common. Muscle spasm in the area is also present, and the existence of constipation or diarrhea is possible. Pain during defecation might occur; and even pain on urination. The main sign for diagnosing appendicitis is the Rovsing’s sign.  It  is elicited once the left lower quadrant is palpated. When this elicits pain on the right lower quadrant, it means you are positive for the Rovsing’s sign. When two or more of these Appendicitis symptoms are present, please seek health care immediately.

If the pain becomes more diffuse and abdominal distention develops, the appendix has ruptured and the condition of the patient worsens. This is one of the Appendicitis symptoms needing attention.

Assessment and Diagnostics for Appendicitis

The presence of Appendicitis symptoms are not enough to conclude inflammation of appendix. The assessment for this condition includes complete physical assessment. Laboratory finding and imaging studies are also done for diagnostics. Physicians will also check your Compelete Blood Count for an elevation in the white blood cell count specifically on the neutrophils. Abdominal X-ray, Ultrasound and CT scans are also done.

Appendicitis Complications

The Appendicitis symptoms are not enough since many complications can spring out. One major complication is the perforation of the appendix, thus leading to peritonitis (an inflammation of the peritoneum, which is a membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen and all of the internal organs),  collection of pus or abscess, or septic thrombosis.  This perforation often occurs 24 hours after the onset of pain, and manifestations include fever 37.7 degree Celsius or above, and abdominal pain or tenderness. If left untreated, this complications can become very fatal.

Incidence of Appendicitis

Appendicitis, which is known to be very common in the young age, has actually a higher incidence in the elderly population. Why? It is because many of these patients do not immediately seek health care as compared to the younger patients. However, some Appendicitis symptoms are often masked by other complications in the young population, it could be thought as gastroenteritis.

Appendicitis Treatment

In the event that Appendicitis symptoms are found, immediate care should be done. There are home remedies which can help relieve the symptoms of appendicitis is in its earliest stages and before rupture transpires. These include bed rest, hot compress application to the painful area several times a day (to relieve cramping and inflammation). Drinking fresh ,natural fruit and vegetable juice could also help. However, this home remedies are not cure and they do not treat the underlying problems. It best if you seek early treatment in the hospital to prevent complications.

Usually, in the health care setting, once a person is diagnosed with appendicitis, immediate surgery is required to decrease the risk of perforation. This procedure is called appendectomy, which is the surgical removal of the appendix. Until surgery is performed, dehydration and sepsis must be prevented through intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Appendectomy may be performed with laparoscopy (modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions, usually 0.5–1.5 cm) or laparotomy (larger surgical incision into the abdominal cavity through the loin or flank).

Laparoscopy and laparotomy are both safe and effective in the treatment of appendicitis with perforation, but laparoscopic appendectomy gives quicker recovery and is more common. However, if the appendix has already ruptured, laparotomy may be required.

The goals of nursing management are to relieving Appendicitis symptoms, eliminating infection, giving the optimal nutrition, and preventing fluid volume deficit. After surgery, the patient is placed in a high Fowler’s position because it reduces strain on the incision and on the abdominal organs, thus reducing pain. Oral fluids can then be administered once  the  patient can tolerate them.

Discharging the Post-Operative Patient

In order for the patient to be discharged from the hospital, his temperature should be within normal limits and there should be no discomfort in the operative site. Heavy lifting and strenuous activities must not be done postoperatively, but normal activity can be resumed in 2-4 weeks time. Dressing changes must be made aseptically to combat complications of appendicitis and facilitate speedy wound healing.

Remember: Appendicitis Symptoms might be very obvious and you may suspect appendicitis immediately, but sometimes they can also be mistaken for other diseases. When you suspect that you have appendicitis, seek proper health care immediately so you can be correctly diagnosed and treated.

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  1. Appendicitis is a severe problem and it should not be overlooked at. Thanks for the great informational post about the symptoms of Appendicitis. Your site is very useful.