Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Diet

Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Diet

Timely diagnosis is indeed important, and this is particularly true when it comes to tricky diseases such as appendicitis.  Appendicitis is one of the common causes of abdominal pain, but it is also one of the more common surgical emergencies. 

What is the appendix?
The appendix is a small finger-shaped tubular structure on the right side of the abdomen.  It is a part of our gastrointestinal tract, but it’s a vestigial organ.  A blockage, or obstruction, in the appendix, can lead to appendicitis.

What is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix.  The inflammation is usually caused by blockages created due to bacterial infections.  Appendicitis is found in about 0.34% of school-going children in India.  And in the case of the adults in India, 0.25% of the population suffers from appendicitis.
It is a tricky disease as its symptoms are pretty much common and vague, like a mild fever and pain around the belly button.  However, the chances are, it might be neglected just as a stomachache or confused with gallbladder problems or urinary tract infection and gastritis, etc., or masked with antibiotics.  If left untreated, appendicitis is potentially life-threatening.  

Who gets it?
Anyone can get it.  It is most common between the ages of 10 and 30. It is more common in males than females and can run in some families too.
Appendicitis is diagnosed on the basis of the medical history of the patient and physical examination by the healthcare expert.  Also, blood and urine tests, along with x-rays, etc., can help diagnose appendicitis. 

Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Diet

  • Appendicitis Symptoms
  • Pain in the region around the bellybutton
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Painful urination

Appendicitis Causes
There can be multiple causes of appendicitis.  Many of them are unknown.  However, here are some of the known and common causes of appendicitis.

  • Enlarged lymphoid follicles
  • Tumours
  • Abdominal trauma

When there is a blockage in the appendicular tube, it causes the breeding of bacteria which may result in the formation of pus, adding to an excess pressure inside the appendix.  This causes severe pain in the lower right side of the stomach.

Appendicitis Treatment
Treatment of appendicitis includes an inevitable appendectomy surgery.  The removal of the appendix is necessary after appendicitis to avoid further complications.  In case the appendix has ruptured, immediate surgery is required.  However, if the burst has not occurred, all the accumulated pus is sucked out through a tube, after which the surgery takes place.  Appendectomy can be performed in two ways; open surgery and laparoscopy.  Laparoscopy is a less invasive technique and, thus, has a shorter recovery period.  However, if appendicitis has ruptured the appendix, open surgery is the only option.  In extremely rare cases, if appendicitis is diagnosed at a very primitive stage, it can be treated without surgery with only the use of antibiotics and a liquid diet.

Appendicitis Prevention
It may not be possible to prevent appendicitis; however, some healthy choices and habits can prove helpful-

Foods you should eat
Foods rich in fibre are recommended as appendicitis seems less likely if you have a fibre-rich diet.  So, include the items mentioned below in your diet - 

  • Oats or wheat gram over breakfast cereals
  • Whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour
  • Brown rice instead of white rice
  • Fresh fruits for dessert

Foods to avoid

  • Processed, fried, and junk foods that are fatty and can irritate the digestive system.
  • Alcohol harms the liver and thus affects digestion.
  • Red meat contains a lot of fat and is difficult to digest.
  • Sugary food items like cakes, pastries, etc. 

Appendicitis can be cured at the initial stage, and it is essential to get the right medical care quickly.  Certainly, understanding the potential health risks posed to your body and getting a preventive medical health check-up done by experts proves beneficial to get the right aid at the right time and avoid further complications.  A timely check-up can be the right investment to save you from medical, financial, physical, and psychological strain. 

If you come across any condition that causes inflammation or infection of the bowels, it’s important to consult a healthcare expert.  Seeking immediate medical attention is vital.  Also, modifying your eating habits and lifestyle can be a key to a healthy life. 

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