Inflammation in the appendix is a serious matter. Knowing the difference between a stomach ache and appendicitis can be life-saving. Learn to recognize appendicitis and know what to do when it strikes.
Signs of Appendicitis
When the appendix is blocked, there’s a chance that an infection could form. Most commonly, symptoms of an infected appendix include pain in the lower right abdomen that moves lower as time goes on. Other signs include swollen stomach, fever, nausea or vomiting, constipation and difficulty passing gas or urinating. The sooner you recognize these symptoms, the sooner you can receive treatment.
What to Do
Appendicitis does not go away on its own and requires surgical intervention. If not taken care of, it could lead to a rupture or a dangerous appendix burst. To prevent this from happening, you will need to remove the appendix as soon as possible.
Seek medical help right away, try not to eat, drink, or take any medications. Appendicitis should be handled by a medical professional, and over-the-counter medications can cause more harm than good.
There are two types of surgery to remove the appendix, medically known as an appendectomy. The first, open surgery, is used in severe cases such as with a burst or ruptured appendix. Through an incision, a surgeon can clean out the entire cavity and make sure the infection doesn’t spread. The second type of surgery is a laparoscopic procedure. Performed via a tiny incision and the help of a camera, your surgeon can remove the appendix and clean the surrounding area. This is much less invasive than open surgery, but requires an intact appendix and can only be done in the early stages of appendicitis. When possible, a laparoscopic procedure is usually preferred due to its faster recovery times and safety.
While this is a common and safe procedure, it will take a few weeks for your body to fully heal. Expect to remain in the hospital for up to two days after surgery in order to monitor your status.
Your doctor will go over home care instructions with you before your procedure, plus provide the necessary medications to help with the pain afterward. Like any surgery, limiting vigorous activity and getting plenty of rest are vital to recovering from the procedure. Your abdomen will be tender after surgery, so take the time to give it the rest it needs. Holding a pillow around the abdomen to cough or support yourself will help with the pain.
Contact us right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. Surgeons at MSA are here to expertly handle appendicitis quickly and ensure your safety and wellbeing.