Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix that projects from the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen. Appendicitis causes pain in the lower right abdomen. In most people, pain begins around the navel and then spreads. Later, the pain becomes severe. This is later accompanied by fever, chills, nausea and vomiting and loss of appetite.

Anyone can develop appendicitis but most often it occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30. It is estimated that around 1 in every 13 people develop it at some point in their life.

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How Does Appendicitis Affect Your Body?

Appendicitis causes inflammation of appendix which is later accompanied by necrosis of the appendix, which places the patient at an increased risk for perforation of the appendix. If perforated, all the inflammatory agents and bacteria in the appendix spill out into the abdominal cavity, causing severe peritonitis.

What Are The Causes of Appendicitis?

A blockage in the lining of the appendix results in infection which is the likely cause of Appendicitis. The bacteria multiply rapidly, causing inflammation and swelling of the appendix. Once filled with pus, the appendix can rupture, if not treated properly.

What Are The Risk Factors of Appendicitis?

Possible risk factors of Appendicitis are:

  • Infection – Mostly stomach infection, which has traveled to the site of the appendix.
  • Obstruction – A hard piece of stool getting trapped in the appendix can lead to infection.
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What Are The Symptoms of Appendicitis?

The symptoms of Appendicitis are:

  • Pain on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Pain around the navel and often shifts to the lower right abdomen
  • Pain while coughing, walking or making other jarring movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal bloating
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How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

  • Physical exam  This test is conducted to assess the pain. Gentle pressure is applied to the area and when the pressure is suddenly released, appendicitis pain will often feel worse, signaling that the adjacent peritoneum is inflamed.
  • Digital rectal exam – This is performed to examine the lower rectum.
  • Blood test – This is done to check for a high white blood cell count, which may indicate an infection.
  • Urine test – A urine test makes sure that urinary tract infection or kidney stones are not causing the pain.
  • Imaging tests – An abdominal X-ray, an abdominal ultrasound or a computerized tomography (CT) scan might be performed to help confirm Appendicitis or to find other causes for the pain.
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How to Prevent and Control Appendicitis?

Prevention of Appendicitis is not possible. However, Appendicitis may be less common in people who eat foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Treatment of Appendicitis – Allopathic Treatment

Surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy) – It can be performed as an open surgery using one abdominal incision about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long, or through few small abdominal incisions (laparoscopic surgery).

Antibiotic medications are given to help prevent wound or bacterial infections after an appendectomy. Few antibiotics given are:

  • Cefotan (Cefotetan)
  • Cefotaxime (Claforan, Mefotoxin)
  • Unasyn (Ampicillin, Sulbactam)
  • Timentin (Ticarcillin, Clavulanate)
  • Rocephin (Ceftriaxone)
  • Maxipime (Cefepime)
  • Gentamicin (Gentacidin, Garamycin)
  • Merrem (meropenem)
  • Invanz (ertapenem)
  • Flagyl (Metronidazole)
  • Cleocin (Clindamycin)
  • Levaquin (Levofloxacin)
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Treatment of Appendicitis – Homeopathic Treatment

  • Arsenicum album – This medicine is used when Appendicitis has resulted in sepsis and the patient also suffers from diarrhea.
  • Belladonna – It is given for cases where Appendicitis is accompanied by a headache and fever.
  • Bryonia alba – It is given for acute Appendicitis and is an effective remedy when the pain aggravates with movement.
  • Colocynthis – This is given when the patient experiences spasmodic pain, which worsens with indigestion.
  • Rhus Tox – This is also called the ‘homeopathic knife’ to treat Appendicitis and is used when the pain is constant.

Appendicitis – Lifestyle Tips

  • Avoid strenuous activity after the surgery.
  • To reduce the pain while coughing or laughing, either use a pillow below the abdomen or apply pressure on the area.
  • Start slowly and increase activity with short walks.
  • Give your body time to heal. Rest properly.

What Are The Recommended Exercises For a Person With Appendicitis?

  • Short walks
  • Passive abdominal exercises
  • Swimming (short laps)

Appendicitis & Pregnancy- Things to Know

  • During pregnancy, acute Appendicitis commonly requires surgery.
  • Appendicitis occurs usually during the second or third trimester.
  • Its symptoms can often be mistaken with pregnancy, making diagnosis difficult.
  • Delayed diagnosis can increase the risk of complications, including fetal loss.
  • Pregnant women also have a higher risk of perforation or rupture of the appendix.
  • If an open surgical procedure is needed then recovery time may be longer.

Common Complications Related to Appendicitis

Common complications to Appendicitis are:

  • A ruptured appendix.
  • A pocket of pus that forms in the abdomen.


Q. How do you know if you have Appendicitis?

A: A warning sign of Appendicitis is the pain that occurs from navel to the lower right corner of the abdomen. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Q. Does Appendicitis pain come and go?

A. In the starting, the pain comes and goes. But later, it gradually increases and eventually becomes constant.

Q. Can stress cause Appendicitis?

A. There is no specific study confirming the link between stress and Appendicitis.

Q. Is Appendicitis contagious?

A. No, Appendicitis is not contagious.

Q. How long is the Appendicitis surgery recovery time?

A. Patients who have had a laparoscopic appendectomy may be discharged immediately and allowed to recover at home, but those who have had an open surgery may need more time.

Q. Can you die from Appendicitis?

A. It is possible to die from Appendicitis if the inflamed appendix bursts and leads to peritonitis.

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