Could It Be Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is a dangerous inflammation of the appendix, which is a 3-inch-long pouch connected to the large intestine. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by ingested food, fecal matter, tissue swelling, or, rarely, a tumor. When this happens, the appendix becomes inflamed and painful, and can burst if left untreated. A burst appendix can cause a serious infection that can spread throughout the abdomen.
Symptoms of appendicitis include:
- pain in the middle to lower-right abdomen
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite
- low-grade fever
- abdominal swelling
These symptoms can resemble a bladder infection, kidney stones, ovarian cysts, pelvic infection, and inflammation of other organs in the abdomen.
The most reliable indicator of appendicitis, however, is pain. If pain persists, and especially if you have a fever, it is very important to seek medical help. In the meantime, you should not take laxatives or enemas (which can increase the chance of a rupture), pain medications (because they mask the pain and make diagnosis more difficult), or food and beverages (because it’s best to have surgery on an empty stomach).
The diagnosis of appendicitis often involves a number of exams and tests. If doctors determine that you have appendicitis, you will need immediate surgery, called an appendectomy. You may be hospitalized for a day or two, but most people are back to normal within a few weeks.
If you experience these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention and call your primary care physician.
SOURCE: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Go here to get the complete story–including diagrams.
Here’s what will happen if you need to get your appendix removed. The information presented is extremely helpful.
There’s a lot of info out there, but this one is geared for parents.
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