What Is Appendicitis?
The appendix is a small pouch that is finger-shaped and about 3 inches long and connected to your large intestine, and located in the lower right part of your belly. No one is absolutely certain what the function of the appendix is. However one thing we do know is that you can live without it. So if your kid needs to have it removed, his or her body will work after the operation just like it did before the surgery. Here in the USA, one in 15 people will get appendicitis. Although it can strike at any age, is most common between ages 10 and 20.
When your appendix gets inflamed, or swells up, it’s called appendicitis. Kids and adults can get appendicitis even though there isn’t always an obvious reason why appendicitis even happens. It could happen after there has been is an infection in the intestine or even after something has caused a blockage in the appendix.
Appendicitis is not a sickness you can pass on to someone else. This means you can’t catch it from anyone who has it, it’s not contagious. On the other hard there unfortunately isn’t much you can do to prevent appendicitis from happening.
How Do People Know if They Have It?
People have different types of symptoms when they have appendicitis. Someone with appendicitis might feel as if he or she is having stomach cramps or really bad indigestion.
Many times the first symptom is a bellyache around the belly button. The bellyache can be worse with moving, jumping, coughing, or deep breaths. Sometimes, vomiting follows soon after the stomach pains. After a few hours, the pains tend to move down to the lower right side of the belly. The pain can become sharp and intense in this area — enough to keep you up at night. A person with appendicitis will not feel very hungry and might have a slight fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people do not want to move around because they feel better if they lie down and curl up. About half the people affected report constipation or diarrhea and even painful urination.
What Do Doctors Do?
If your doctors suspects it could be appendicitis, you would need to go in for an office visit or to the emergency department. Your doctor will check for tenderness over the abdomen, especially over the lower right side of your belly, a spot known as McBurney’s point. This spot can be particularly sensitive to touch.
The doctor may test a your blood to see if there are an increase of white blood cells, which means there could be an infection in the body. The doctor may also check a urine sample to make sure there is no infection. Other doctors will decide to take an X-ray, CAT Scan, or ultrasound of the abdomen. Generally, if appendicitis is suspected, doctors tend to err on the side of safety and quickly remove the appendix to avoid its rupture. If the appendix has formed an abscess, you may have two procedures: one to drain the abscess of pus and fluid, and one to remove the appendix. There is some research showing treatment of acute appendicitis with antibiotics in some cases eliminates the need for surgery.
Antibiotics are given before an appendectomy to fight possible peritonitis. If you have peritonitis, the abdomen is also irrigated and drained of pus. General anesthesia is usually given, and the appendix is removed through a 4-inch incision or by laparoscopy.
Within 12 hours of surgery you may get up and move around. You can usually return to normal activities in two to three weeks. If surgery is done with a laparoscope (a thin telescope-like instrument for viewing inside the abdomen), the incision is smaller and recovery is faster.
After the Appendix Is Gone
After an appendectomy, you may stay in the hospital for a few days. The time needed to recover from this operation varies, but kids can usually return to school in about a week. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about this. You might wonder, what can be done to prevent Appendicitis? There is no way to prevent appendicitis. However, appendicitis is less common in people who eat and good balanced diet including foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
A person who’s had an appendectomy will feel better soon, and won’t feel any different without an appendix. And here’s some more good news: Your kid won’t ever have to worry about appendicitis again!