What Is Appendix?
Appendix is a small blind-ended tube, which is approximately 9cm in length. This pouch like organ connects cecum. It is situated at the junction of large and small intestine. This vermiform organ is vestigial in nature (as it has lost most of its functions). Nevertheless, it maintains gut flora and functions as a lymphatic organ (associated with B-lymphocyte mediated immune response).
Onset Of Disorders Associated With Appendix
Inflammation of appendix results in two major health conditions: Carcinoid tumors and Appendicitis.
Where Is Appendix Pain Located?
Appendicitis attack is localized in the lower right quadrant of abdomen: a dull, visceral pain that occurs when peritoneum or peritonitis becomes inflamed and tender. Peritoneum is a single layered membrane that layers the abdominal wall. It protects the underlying organs beneath it.
Contrary to this, carcinoid tumors are neuro-endocrine tumor of mid gut. It causes secretion of serotonin hormone that causes diarrhea, cramping, swelling and peripheral edema. The pain associated with tumors begins in the center of abdomen.
Both these conditions can be life threatening as they cause rupturing of appendix. Therefore, as soon as you notice pain and other symptoms associated with appendicitis, you should seek medical help.
Causes Of Appendix Pain
Infection in peritoneum or obstruction within appendix causes onset of appendicitis pain. Gastrointestinal viral infections cause inflammation of peritoneum layer. Likewise, food waste (like fruit seeds and fibers) forms hard fecal stones that are trapped within appendix.
Pain in mid gut (around belly button) is the first symptom of appendicitis. It radiates towards lower right abdomen and spreads a point halfway between your right pelvic bone and navel. According to Dr. John P. Cunha, an expert at eMedicine Health, the pain in abdomen becomes sharper with time as the inflammation worsens. When it takes a serious shape, the location of pain may differ from one person to another, depending upon his gender, age, health and location of appendix inside abdomen. If you lay on side (in a fetal position), with your knees pulled up to your chest, you may find relief from pain.
Other symptoms of appendicitis may include vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and tenderness in abdomen. If you poke or push down the location of pain and suddenly remove pressure from there, it may worsen with time. Avoid any sudden movements or it may worsen the pain.
Appendicitis may cause other abdominal problems, as well. Pain while passing urine, swelling in the abdomen, severe constipation, cramps, inability to pass gas and a fever (above 99 degrees Fahrenheit) are signs that indicate you have appendicitis.
Worsening of Pain
In one of their researches, experts at Mayo Clinic revealed, symptoms associated with appendicitis usually worsen after 12 to 18 hours after infection. Intense pain causes development of pressure within the tube. Consequently, the appendix ruptures from this built-up pressure, allowing the inner contents and pus to leak into the abdominal cavity, causing infection of peritoneum layer (peritonitis).
Rupturing of appendicitis reduces pain for some time, but it may gradually return with more intensity. When infection develops and spreads around the abdomen, you need medical help. If you leave this condition untreated, it can lead to other complications like infection of bloodstream, sepsis and gangrene. The affected individual may experience fever, increased thirst and intense pain in abdomen.
According to Dr. Cunha, ruptured appendix causes shock and infertility. Severe inflammation in mid gut causes obstruction in bowel movements, decrease in urine production and output. Finally, it leads to death. Therefore, you need to spot and treat these symptoms within 48 hours of development.
Patients suffering from appendix pain may not be able to make a diagnosis of their own, but they can certainly pinpoint the location of pain to know if it arises from the appendix. Look for McBurney Point in your abdomen. It is situated on the right side of your abdomen, between the navel and hipbone protrusion. If you confirm its location, you can take appropriate steps to cope with pain.
See a physician to confirm the severity of this condition. Your doctor may perform blood tests to check symptoms of inflammation followed by CT scan, x-rays and ultrasound to confirm appendicitis.
Doctors conduct physical examination of the patient and consider his medical history. They check for vital signs (such as tenderness, blood pressure and elevated temperatures), to confirm pain.
Blood samples are taken from patients to confirm white blood count. Elevated white blood count hints at ongoing infection. He may also perform abdominal ultrasound. Ultrasound photos reveal an enlarged appendix or present of internal abscess in the organ (that are common occurrences during appendicitis). X-ray results reveal blockages in appendix, occurring from small, hardened stool. Doctors look for calcified obstructions in appendix to confirm this condition.
If your doctor detects the symptoms of appendicitis early, he can easily remove appendix and relieve you from pain. Nevertheless, if the pain and symptoms have been ongoing for many days, physicians recommend antibiotics and painkillers to get rid of pain and infection first. Thereafter, they perform surgery to remove ruptured appendix.
CT scan is yet another reliable method to detect appendicitis. Doctors insert barium fluid into the color to detect inflammation caused in the case of barium enema. They may also use a laparoscope (a small tube-like structure fitted with high-focus cameras) to diagnose abdominal issues and appendicitis.
How To Cope With Pain In Appendix
As soon as you are hit with pain in appendix, you must lie down in a comfortable position. Try to stay as still as possible. Sudden movement results in development of pressure on your abdomen.
Lying on a flat surface relieves strain in abdomen and takes away pain to some extent. Moreover, it reduces the risks of causing further injury to your internal organs. Leave your abdomen unattended for some time.
Coughing and wheezing are unavoidable and may worsen the pain. You must try to refrain from these reflexes in order to cope with pain. Try to distract yourself when you feel intense pain. Listen to light music and watch your favorite show on television to relax yourself.
Home Remedies For Relieving Pain
According to experts at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Mayo Clinic, a few natural ingredients help relieve pain associated with appendicitis. Here are a few useful methods.
1)Ginger is beneficial in case of vomiting and wheezing. You can store raw ginger slices or its juice in a bottle of rock salt. Consume it once in every two or three hours to feel better. You can use a mixture of ginger and turmeric to reduce pain.
2)Fresh fruits and vegetables have antioxidants that help you relieve pain. Juice derived from carrot, cucumber and beetroot serve as an excellent remedy for relieving appendix pain.
3)If you cannot eat solid food, you can settle for whole wheat and sterilized bran. Prepare homemade bread using these ingredients. It helps with bowel movements.
4)Mint and basil leaves reduce fever and inflammation. Boil water in a pot and set it aside. Add mint or basil to this water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Drink this relaxing tea.
5)Soak a handful of Fenugreek seeds in cold water and allow them to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes over medium flame. Let it cool down to normal room temperature and consume it to relieve abdominal pain.
Treatment for Appendicitis
Using mild antibiotics may help reduce pain associated with inflamed appendix. It reduces the risk of surgeries by 92%. However, there is no cure for a ruptured appendix. Only surgery can relieve the pain associated with ruptured appendix.
Your doctor may perform two types of surgery associated with appendix (known as appendectomy)
1) Open Appendectomy Surgery
It lets your surgeon view the infection of abdominal cavity. They make an incision of around 2 to 4 inches in length in the lower right hand region of your abdomen. Through this cut, they remove inflamed or ruptured appendix from your abdomen, thereby relieving you of this pain.
2) Laparoscopic Appendectomy
It is beneficial and less invasive (as compared to open appendectomy). In this case, doctors perform make several small incisions instead of making a large gash as in the case of open surgery. These tiny cuts are of 1 to 3 cm in length, through which, the surgeons insert a laparoscope inside your body. This laparoscope comprises of a surgical tube and camera. This camera is linked to a TV monitor present inside operation room.
Surgeons use this camera to record video displaying the status of internal organs inside. Thereafter, they guide surgical tools to remove appendix from one of the incisions. This type of surgery causes lesser pain and scarring. You can easily recover from this surgery in a short period, without suffering from abdominal infection.
How To Deal With The After Math Of Appendicitis
Household herbs help you recover from post-surgery pain, discomfort and swelling.
Gotu Kola and Agrimony are Chinese herbs that repair wounded tissues, heal surgery wounds and prevent scarring. However, patients suffering from hypertension should not consume Gotu Kola.
Buttermilk and Dandelion have powerful antioxidants that relive post-surgery symptoms. Diabetics and kidney patients should consult their physicians before having Dandelion tea.
These are a few tested methods of dealing with appendicitis. Consult your doctors for preventive measures so that you can easily avoid this condition.
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