Things You Need to Know About Appendicitis

Things You Need to Know About Appendicitis

Sep 01, 2022

Appendicitis occurs if an appendix becomes infected or inflamed. The appendix is a small tube-shaped organ attached to your large intestine. No one knows the purpose of the appendix, but people know that appendicitis is serious. Your surgeon usually performs an appendectomy to eliminate the falling appendix.

What is Appendicitis?

An appendix is a finger-sized tube. The appendix location is where the small and large intestines connect. If it gets infected or inflamed, you’ll need immediate treatment from an emergency room near you.

An inflamed appendix causes pain on and off. Or it may rupture, causing severe pain. A ruptured appendix might spread bacteria through the abdominal cavity. The bacteria trigger a serious infection called peritonitis.

What Causes Appendicitis?

It’s not stated clearly what causes appendicitis. Something triggers swelling and irritation or infection in your appendix. Causes include:

  • Having a digestive tract infection
  • Abdominal trauma or injury
  • When you have inflammatory bowel disease
  • Blockage at the opening where your appendix connects with the intestines
  • Having growths inside the appendix

Symptoms of Appendicitis

If you experience signs and symptoms, you should seek appendicitis treatment. They include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • When you experience diarrhea and constipate
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Experiencing sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Feeling sudden pain that forms around the navel and often moves to the lower right abdomen
  • Low-grade fever, which worsens as the illness progresses
  • Flatulence
  • Experiencing pain that gets worse when you walk, cough, or makes other jarring movements

How Emergency Room Diagnosed Appendicitis

To diagnose appendicitis, your doctor from the Houston emergency room will take a history of your symptoms and examine your abdomen. Procedures and tests used for diagnosis include:

  • Physical exam to assess the pain: Your doctor applies gentle pressure on the painful area. When they release the pressure suddenly, appendicitis pain often feels worse, signaling your adjacent peritoneum is inflamed.

Your doctor also looks for abdominal rigidity and a tendency to stiffen your abdominal muscles in response to pressure over the infected or inflamed appendix.

The doctor might use a lubricated, gloved finger to examine your lower rectum. If you’re a childbearing woman, the doctor may give you a pelvic exam to check for any gynecological issues that might be causing the pain.

  • Blood test: This test allows your doctor to check for a high white blood cell count, which indicates an infection.
  • Urine test: The doctor will ask you to have a urinalysis to ensure that a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone is not the cause of the pain.
  • Imaging tests: Your doctor might recommend an abdominal X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, an abdominal ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging to confirm appendicitis and find other causes for the appendix pain.

Treatment for Appendicitis

The treatment of appendicitis usually involves surgery to remove the infected or inflamed appendix. Before surgery, your provider may give you a dose of antibiotics to treat an infection.

Surgery to Remove Appendix (Appendectomy)

The surgery is performed as open surgery using one abdominal incision. Or the procedure can be done through a few abdominal incisions, called laparoscopic surgery. During laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon from Ascent Emergency Room inserts special surgical tools and a video camera into the abdomen to eliminate your appendix.

Laparoscopic appendectomy allows you to recover faster and heal with less scarring and pain. Therefore, it might be better for people with obesity and older people. But this surgery is not suitable for everyone. For example, if you have a ruptured appendix and infection has spread beyond your appendix or suffer from an abscess, you might need an open appendectomy, allowing the surgeon to clean the abdominal cavity.

After the appendicitis surgery near you, you’ll spend one or two days in the hospital. The recovery time from an appendectomy takes a few weeks.

Draining the Abscess Before Appendix Surgery

If an abscess has formed around your appendix that has burst, the spot may be drained by your surgeon by placing a tube through your skin into the abscess. Appendectomy is performed several weeks later after the infection is controlled.

Complications of Appendicitis

The complications of appendicitis that needs you to visit an emergency room near you include:

  • Developing an appendicular abscess or having a pocket of infectious pus
  • You may create an abdominal infection
  • If a ruptured appendix bacterium gets into your bloodstream, it can cause sepsis

Are you looking for an emergency room in Houston, TX? At Ascent Emergency Room, we care about your health and their emergency needs. We are located just a little away from you and provide exceptional and comprehensive emergency care appointments for the surrounding Houston area:

  • (Southampton) University Place
  • Rice Village
  • Bellaire
  • Old Braeswood
  • Gridiron
  • Brookhaven
  • Southside
  • Riverside Terrace
  • Greater Third Ward
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  • Westmoreland Houston
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