May 11, 2009

Symptoms & Treatment of Ruptured Appendix

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

A medical emergency that requires prompt surgery, appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix is inflamed due to an infection in the body. Stools, a foreign body or a tumor may have blocked the appendix, a 3 ½ inch tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine, causing it to swell.

Signs & Symptoms of a Ruptured Appendix

The common symptoms of appendicitis to watch out for are unbearable pain in the abdomen that radiates from the navel to the lower abdomen on the right side. You could also have diarrhea, loss of appetite, low fever, or vomiting. As soon as you notice any of these signs, immediately contact your doctor to avoid the appendix from rupturing. If the ruptured appendix is left untreated, it could be life threatening.

One of the leading reasons for a ruptured appendix is delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Your appendix could rupture from anywhere between 36 to 48 hours after the symptoms manifest. All that is needed in the case of an inflamed appendix is an appendectomy, during which the doctor will remove your appendix. If the case is not too serious, your doctor may prescribe some antibiotics to get rid of the pain.

Diagnosing an inflamed appendix is of the utmost importance as a delay in diagnosing and treating the condition could lead to a ruptured appendix. In this case, the pus that is present inside the appendix will spill into the abdominal cavity and cause peritonitis or an infection of the abdominal cavity lining. This could even lead to the death of the patient. Here are signs to watch out for a ruptured appendix.

  • As the inflammation of the appendix worsens, the pain in your abdomen, particularly the lower right side, will increase.
  • The tiniest movement will cause you immense pain as the inflamed area gets tender and the muscles that surround the organ tend to get stiff, so even simple movements like coughing, sneezing, or walking could cause you unbearable pain.
  • You will also tend to feel nauseous and you will not feel like eating anything.
  • You will most likely be running a low grade temperature.
  • You could also face electrolyte imbalances, renal failure, swelling of the whole body or sepsis, tremors, and digestive problems.

If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, steer clear of any movement and get medical attention immediately.

Treating an Inflamed Appendix

The easiest way to treat an inflamed appendix before it bursts is by conducting an appendectomy. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or by making an incision. In the event of a ruptured appendix, doctors will opt for an open surgery so that they can clear the abdominal cavity before it causes an infection.

Appendectomy Recovery

You can usually start walking 24 hours after the surgery. A liquid diet of juice, clear broth, or gelatin can be eaten till your intestines and stomach settle down and start functioning normally. Depending on how well your stomach handles the meal, you can switch to regular foods soon after. The first few hours are crucial, and you should be certain that complications are avoided. Look out for infection signs like swelling and redness at the point where the incision has been made, fever, warmth near the incision, or a worsening pain. Contact your doctor immediately if you face any of these symptoms. The fastest way to recover after an appendectomy is to get back on your feet and to start moving around. Do not overdo it though, and consult your doctor on how much exercise is recommended.