What is Appendicitis? Treatment and Complications

December 02, 2018

What is appendicitis? Learn its causes, treatment and what to look out for.

When the appendix is inflamed, it causes appendicitis. It is a medical emergency and almost always requires an immediate surgery where the appendix is removed. If left untreated, the inflamed appendix may eventually burst or perforate causing the spreading of infection to the abdominal cavity.

Here are 6 things you must know about Appendicitis.

1. Risk Factors that may cause Appendicitis

  • While Appendicitis can occur to both men and women, studies suggest men are more prone to it than women
  • A diet low in dietary fibre
  • A family history of appendicitis
  • Abdominal infections

2. Symptoms to look out for

  • Pain in the abdomen, radiating from the umbilicus to the right lower abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
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  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

3. The Diagnosis of Appendicitis

  • The doctor would take a detailed history and clinically evaluate you
  • Tests like Ultrasound abdomen,complete blood picture or CECT Abdomen may also be advised

4. Can Appendicitis be prevented?

  • Not really.
  • But appendicitis is less common in people who eat foods high in fibre, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. The treatment of Appendicitis
Surgical removal of the appendix is the only treatment option for acute appendicitis. Your doctor may choose an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery depending on the availability as well as the expertise of the surgeon.

Laparoscopic surgery allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring. But laparoscopic surgery isn't appropriate for everyone. If your appendix has ruptured and infection has spread beyond the appendix or you have an abscess, you may need an open appendectomy.

The recovery post-surgery could take up to a few weeks. Antibiotics and pain medications may be prescribed. It will also require you to stay away from the strenuous activity, hold/support the abdomen while coughing and eat a protein-rich diet for quicker recovery.

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6. Complications on ignoring Appendicitis
Appendicitis will require immediate medical attention. If left untreated, it could lead to serious complications like

  • Ruptured appendix leading to spreading of infection throughout the abdomen
  • Appendicular Abscess, Appendicular mass
  • Perforation which can be life-threatening


Article by Dr. Chittimalla Ajaiya Kishoar, MBBS, MS (General Surgery)
Consultant Surgeon, CallHealth

Have a question? Consult Dr. Chittimalla online.

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