What is Appendicitis?
A health article about Appendicitis from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Appendicitis is the most common of all serious intestinal disorders. It refers to an inflammation of
the vermiform appendix. It presents itself in acute and chronic forms and affects both the sexes
This disease now accounts for about half the acute abdominal emergencies occurring
between the ages of 10 to 30 . It is more frequent in developed countries than underdeveloped
The appendix is a small tube located at the end of the caecum, the first part of the large
intestine. It is called vermiform appendix as it resembles a worm. It is usually eight to ten cm.
Its structure is made of the same tough fibrous outer covering as protects the entire
alimentary canal. There is a layer of muscular tissue under the outer covering and further a layer
of lymphoid tissue.
The function of the appendix, which is performed by this lymphoid tissue, is
to neutralise the irritating waste material generated in the body or the organic poisons introduced
through the skin or membranes.
Signs & Symptoms of Appendicitis
Appendicitis can be detected by the onset of pain in the middle portion of the abdomen, the portion above the belly button. After a few hours the area will swell and there will be intense pain when touching the abdomen’s right side. The patient will begin to vomit and will have nausea.
There will low fever and there will be problems will gas and stool passage. Some people, after the onset of these symptoms, will take laxatives or enemas mistaking appendicitis for constipation. But this is extremely dangerous, as these medicines will in turn increase the risk of the appendix bursting.
Symptoms of appendicitis usually develop over 1-2 days. It starts with the sudden onset of waves of pain felt around the navel, then progresses to the lower right abdomen. If it is not treated the appendix may burst.
• Usually takes place over 24-48 hours.
• Starts with central abdominal waves of pain.
• Pain usually moves to the right side of lower abdomen
• Patient is flushed and feverish
• Fast heart beat.
• Unwillingness to eat.
• After pressing over the site of the pain, the pain gets worse when pressure is released
There are many conditions that can cause similar pains in the abdomen but appendicitis is the most common cause.
Appendicitis usually begins with a sudden pain in the centre of the abdomen, which gradually
shifts to the lower right side. The pain may be preceded by general discomfort in the abdomen,
indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation.
The patient usually has a mild fever varying from 100 o to
102 o F. Nausea is common, and the patient may vomit once or twice. The muscles of the right
side of the abdomen become tense and rigid.
The patient draws some comfort by drawing up the
right leg. The pain increases on the right side on pressing the left side of the abdomen.
Coughing and sneezing makes the pain worse.
If the inflammation continues to increase, the appendix may rupture and discharge its pus into
the abdominal cavity. This may result in a serious state known as peritonitis. The temperature
rises and the patient becomes pale and cold.
This condition may call for urgent operation.
In the chronic state of appendicitis, the patient may suffer from recurrent pain in the right lower
abdomen with constipation, loss of appetite and mild nausea.
Types of Appendicitis
Many children have their appendix removed even before turning the age of fourteen. And the risk starts to peak as they age. Majority of children who get an abdominal surgery is because of appendicitis. Appendicitis is actually appendix inflammation and as a result, a fingerlike tube grows on the lower right part of large intestine.
Appendix is located at the closed end of the larger intestine, known as the cecum, and measures up to many inches. Although, doctors say that the appendix isn’t of much help to the body, but appendix’s inner wall releases antibodies, which are produced by the lymphatic tissues.
What Causes Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is caused by a toxic bowel condition. An excessive amount of poisonous waste
material is accumulated in the calcium. As a result, the appendix is irritated and over-worked and
becomes inflamed. It is an attempt on the part of nature to localise and "burn up" the toxins.
This condition is brought about by wrong feeding habits and enervation of the system.
Inflammation of the bowel lining, due to the habitual use of apparent drugs, is a potent
predisposing factor in the development of appendicitis. Further inflammation and infection comes
from certain germs which are usually present in the intestinal tract.
The appendix is a blind-ended sac that arises at the end of the colon, or large bowel. It normally does little in humans, but in rabbits it is very important in helping to digest the plant material cellulose. When the appendix becomes infected or obstructed by food pellets or swollen glands, then the symptoms of appendicitis arise.
Cause of Appendicitis
Appendicitis is one of the most common and best known causes of abdominal pain. It can occur at any age, although it is rare before the age of 2, and about 1 in 6 people undergoes an appendectomy to remove the affected organ.
The appendix is a short, thin, blind-ended tube approximately 7-10 cm (3-4 in) long that is attached to the caecum, a pouch that forms the first section of the large intestine. It has no known function in humans. The appendix is liable to become infected, particularly amongst young people, and appendectomy is one of the most commonly performed emergency operations.
When to seek Medical Advice:
So it is recommended to consult the doctor before going for any kind of medication, even any pain relievers. Besides increasing the risk, they even mask the symptoms and makes diagnosis even more hard. If the child’s symptoms are very much similar to that of the appendicitis’ symptoms, he should be immediately taken to the doctor for further diagnosis.
The doctor will first study the child’s digestive illnesses’ history. He should also be divulged information about the symptoms, timing, bowel movements and its frequency. The stool should also be checked for mucus or blood.
Children, who can communicate, can be asked to point out the location of pain in the abdomen. Toddlers who haven’t started talking or who hesitate to do talk will raise their knees close to the chest, hips will be flexed and the abdomen becomes tender.
Although, the actual cause of this abnormal growth of the appendix is not known, but it can result because of some kind of obstruction or infection in the intestines. The obstruction can be created due to thick mucus build-up inside the appendix. Some part of the stool can also enter inside.
There will be mucus formation and the stool will harden within resulting in the swelling up of the appendix. If it is an infection, it should be treated immediately, as it can burst and there is a danger of the infection spreading to other parts of the body via bloodstream.
That is the reason why even blood test is done, so as to determine whether the infection has spread or not.
The urine test is done to check for problems in the urinary tract. The problem is then confirmed with the help of computed tomography or an ultrasound. Sometimes children with pneumonia have the similar symptoms, so to make matters clear even X-ray of the chest is done.
Medical attention must be sought within forty eight hours of the start of the abdominal pain. Sometimes, abdomen develops mild inflammation, many weeks before the diagnosis is done.
After the diagnosis is done and appendicitis is determined, appendectomy is performed on the patient. The doctor will immediately order the intake of antibiotics before the surgery is performed. In case of confined appendicitis, it can be treated solely by antibiotics and no surgery is required. This is because the inflammation is very mild and the body itself fights with the infection.
But, still as a precautionary measure, such kinds of patients must be kept in observation until their condition becomes stabilized. If the appendix ruptured then appendicle perforation is done.
In this procedure, a drain is inserted inside the skin, through the abscess with the help of CT scan or ultrasound which gives the exact location. Some people develop complications later such as wound infection and accumulation of puss inside the appendix.
If appendicitis is suspected then the person needs to be in hospital for further tests such as X -rays, blood tests and urine analysis.
If the diagnosis is confirmed then removal of the appendix, as soon as possible, should be done. If left untreated, the appendix may form an abscess, which may burst and cause infection throughout the abdomen.
For most, the operation is relatively straight forward and people often leave hospital two or three days after surgery.
Self Care strategies for Living with Appendicitis
Home Cures For Children's Appendicitis
By Shabi Bakhru http://www.easyhomeremedy.com/home_remedy_for_appendicitis.html
The child should be put to bed immediately at the first symptoms of severe pain, vomiting and fever. Rest is of utmost importance in the treatment of this disease. NO solid food should be given for one or two days. The child should be given plenty of water to drink. He may also be given fruit juices diluted with water.
Low enemas of warm water may be administered in early stage to cleanse the bowels, if the child can tolerate it. An ice bag should be used again for 15 minutes, followed by hot application for three minutes. The alternate use of the ice bag and hot applications may be continued until the pain has subsided.
After the acute symptoms have subsided, the child may be placed on a diet of liquid foods and fresh juicy fruits such as oranges, lemon, pineapple, apple, grapes and papaya for further two or three days. Thereafter, he may be gradually allowed to embark upon a well-balanced diet according to his age. The emphasis should be on whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and raw vegetable salad.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of appendicitis. Green gram has proved effective in the acute phase of the disease. A handful of this pulse should be soaked overnight in water. This water is used as a medicine for treating this condition. It may be given in small quantities of one teaspoon to the child two or three times daily.
Regular use of tea made from fenugreek seeds has proved helpful in preventing the appendix from becoming a dumping ground for excess mucus and intestinal waste. This tea is prepared by putting half a tablespoon of the seeds in 250 ml. of cold water and allowing it to simmer for half an hour over a low flame. It should be allowed to cool a bearable temperature and the strained. It can be given to the child once daily.
Certain vegetable juices, especially carrot juice, in combination with the juices of beet roots and cucumbers, have been found valuable in appendicitis. In this combination, 50 ml. each of beet root and cucumber juices should be mixed with 150 ml. of carrot juice.
It may be given to the child-patient twice daily. The use of buttermilk is beneficial in the treatment of chronic form of appendicitis. About 250 ml. of buttermilk may be used for this purpose.
The patient of appendicitis should adopt all measures to eradicate constipation, if it is habitual. Much relief can be obtained by daily application of hot fomentation and heating compresses. Once the waste matter in the caecum has moved into the colon and thence eliminated, the irritation and inflammation in the appendix will subside and surgical removal of the appendix will not be necessary.
When all the measures have failed and infection is so severe that there are chances of perforation or formation of appendicular abscess then only surgical removal of appendix is necessary.
Diet change strategies:
Using Ayurveda Therapy:
The patient should be put to bed immediately at the first symptoms of severe pain, vomiting and
fever. Rest is of utmost importance in the treatment of this disease. The patient should resort to
fasting which is the only real cure for appendicitis. Absolutely no food should be given. Nothing
except water should enter the system.
Low enemias, containing about one pint (1/2 litre) of
warm water should be administered everyday for the first three days to cleanse the lower bowel.
Hot compresses may be placed over the painful area several times daily. Abdominal packs,
made of a strip of wet sheet covered by a dry flannel cloth bound tightly around the abdomen,
should be applied continuously until all acute symptoms subside.
When the acute symptoms subside by about the third day, the patient should be given a full
enema containing about 1 1/2 litre of warm water and this should be repeated daily until the
inflammation and pain have subsided. The patient can be given fruit juices from the third day
onwards. This simple treatment sensibly applied will overcome an appendicitis attack.
After spending three days on fruit juices, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for a further four
or five days. During this period, he should have three meals a day each meal of fresh juicy fruits.
Thereafter, he should adopt a well-balanced diet based on three food groups namely, (i) seed,
nuts and grains, (ii) vegetables and (iii) fruits.
In case of chronic appendicitis, a short fast should be followed by a full milk diet for two or three
weeks. In this regimen, a glass of milk should be taken every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on
the first day, a glass every hour and a half the next day and a glass every hour the third day.
Then the quantity of milk should be gradually increased so as to take a glass every half an hour,
if such a quantity can be tolerated comfortably. After the full milk diet, the patient should
gradually embark upon a well- balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and green leafy
Certain vegetable juices, especially carrot juice, in combination with the juices of beets and
cucumbers, have been found valuable in the treatment of appendicitis. Regular use of tea made
from fenugreek seeds has also proved helpful in preventing the appendix from becoming a
dumping ground for excess mucous and intestinal waste.
The patient of appendicitis should adopt all measures to eradicate constipation., if it is habitual.
Much relief can be obtained by the application of hot fomentation and abdominal packs every
morning and night. An abdominal massage is also beneficial.
Once the waste matter in the
calcium has moved into the colon and thence eliminated, the irritation and inflammation in the
appendix will subside and surgical removal of the appendix will not be necessary. The surgical
operation should be resorted to only in rare cases, when the appendix has become abscessed.
**We recommend that you seek immediate medical attention if you should suspect that your symptoms may be appendicitis **
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