When it stings in the lower abdomen, many people first remember appendicitis. In fact, other, less specific symptoms usually point to this. FITBOOK asked an expert what you need to know about inflammation.
Untreated appendicitis (technical term: appendicitis) can lead to serious and life-threatening complications. In the worst case, the appendix ruptures and feces and bacteria enter the abdominal cavity. What causes appendicitis and what symptoms should you definitely see a doctor?
What are the causes of appendicitis?
In inflammation of the appendix, the whole appendix is not inflamed, but its attachment – the so-called appendix. As an emergency and general practitioner Dr. Falk Stirkat, a doctor, explains in an interview with FITBOOK that the causes of appendicitis are not really clear. “Dung clumps are thought to block access to the appendix and, as a result, there is a relative lack of blood supply, which promotes intestinal bacterial infection.” The appendix can become clogged relatively easily because it has no exit. What was once thought – that cherry seeds or swallowed chewing gum clogged the appendix – is now refuted.
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What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
Unfortunately, it is also not possible to clearly define how appendicitis becomes noticeable. According to Stirkat, this is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose. “Abdominal pain is always a very diffuse symptom in itself, which is often not easy to classify.” Those that may indicate appendicitis usually begin in the area around the navel and migrate to the left lower abdomen.
Another symptom of appendicitis is pain when lifting the leg, so patients should often jump if they suspect it. Typical symptoms include fever, nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. If abdominal pain is accompanied by diarrhea, Stirkat says it makes appendicitis unlikely, but does not completely rule it out.
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What to do if the symptoms suddenly appear?
Although the symptoms are tolerable – Stirkat urges you to see a doctor if these symptoms occur. If the appendicitis cannot be stopped, there is a risk of pus settling in different parts of the abdomen, which can lead to permanent inflammation. This can disrupt and even paralyze intestinal activity. “The inflamed gut can rupture, which can lead to bacterial inflammation of the peritoneum and subsequent blood poisoning,” Stirkat adds, “and in the worst case, death.”
In general, acute abdominal pain should always be checked by a doctor, especially if it is No accompanied by diarrhea ’. According to the rescuer, they could have diverted attention from potentially even more serious diseases.
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What treatment options are there?
The diagnosis of appendicitis used to mean one thing: to operate and quickly. According to Stirkat, studies have now shown that uncomplicated appendicitis in many cases resolves without intervention. Sometimes it’s just irritation of the appendix – in some cases a preliminary stage of appendicitis, which usually disappears after a few days without treatment.
Attempts to avoid surgery are being made, especially in children and adolescents. Also, adults are treated with antibiotics and painkillers, at least in a very acute phase, to alleviate the inflammation with respect to surgery. If the therapy does not work, the appendix must be surgically removed.
What happens during appendix surgery?
If the appendix has not yet ruptured, many doctors prefer to do laparoscopy. This results in less wound pain and also the advantage (in patients) that you can also check the condition of the genitals. Any malignant changes present in this area could be masked by signs of appendicitis. You can usually leave the hospital after three days after laparoscopy.
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After a ruptured appendix, you can no longer do without an abdominal incision. The surgeon must open the abdomen freely and rinse (to remove germs) to remove the inflamed tissue. “Fortunately, this is a very low-risk routine operation,” says Stirkat. Possible complications are largely limited to those typical of surgery (eg wound healing disorders) or anesthesia. After the procedure, the patient usually has to stay in the hospital for a few days longer and is up to two weeks in hospital. Then Scania is on the agenda!