Appendicitis is characterized by an inflamed appendix. The appendix is a miniature, finger-like pouch positioned where the large and small intestines join. Generally, the inflammation of the appendix is brought about by an obstruction in the opening of the appendix by a piece of stool.
Oftentimes, it is caused by a digestive tract infection. Due to the risk for causing the organ to rupture, appendicitis is considered as an emergency. Once the appendix ruptures, the infection and bowel movement might spread within the abdomen. This can lead to peritonitis which is dangerous if not promptly treated.
Management of appendicitis
If an individual is diagnosed with appendicitis, the treatment might include the following:
- Insertion of an IV catheter into the hand or arm to allow direct administration of medications into the blood as well as fluids if needed.
- Removal of the appendix or appendectomy
- The doctor might prescribe medications to manage the pain, lower the risk for infection, prevention of side effects as well as soften the stool and lessen strain during bowel movement.
- Once the appendix has ruptured, the doctor might decide to place a drain in the abdomen to allow drainage of the infection after surgery.
When to seek medical attention
If there are signs of infection developing around the surgical wound such as increasing redness or pain, warmth, drainage of blood or pus and muscle pain or chills, a doctor must be consulted.
Other factors that require further assessment include:
- Pain that could not be controlled with medications
- Presence of blood in the vomit or bowel movement
- Changes in the bowel pattern such as presence of mucus or blood, diarrhea, constipation or other intestinal issues
- Abdominal pain that settles but returns worse than before