Appendicitis Treatment in Wichita Falls, TX
What Is Appendicitis?
The appendix is a small tubular structure that projects from your colon on the right side of the body with seemingly no function. However, while the appendix may not play a vital role in your body, this little organ can cause significant problems and require medical attention.
Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix that can be acute or chronic. Affecting roughly one in 20 people in the United States alone, acute appendicitis is a very painful condition that can lead to serious complications if not treated immediately. Chronic appendicitis is more rare, causing intermittent mild abdominal pain, and often goes undetected.
If you are experiencing significant abdominal pain, it should not be ignored. To schedule an appointment with a healthcare practitioner in Wichita Falls who specializes in appendicitis treatment, call (940) 242-3594 or contact Kell West Family Practice Clinic online.
Causes of Appendicitis
There are several different causes of appendicitis. In certain cases, more than one cause may be to blame, and in others, the cause is unclear. Often, appendicitis is due to a blockage, such as a piece of stool that becomes trapped in the appendix; this allows bacteria to flourish and leads to inflammation, swelling, and pus formation.
The other major cause of appendicitis in an infection; this could be an infection that begins in the stomach and moves into the appendix or an infection that begins elsewhere in the body. Other potential appendicitis causes include:
- Abdominal trauma
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
While anyone can experience appendicitis, the condition is more common in people between 10 and 30 years old.
The symptoms of appendicitis typically begin with abdominal pain, originating near the naval and slowly moving to the lower right abdomen. This pain will increase over time, sometimes in a matter of hours, and lead to abdominal swelling.
Other appendicitis symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea, constipation, or inability to pass gas
- Painful urination
- Loss of appetite
Tests for Appendicitis
There are various ways to test for appendicitis to ensure your uncomfortable symptoms are not due to another medical condition such as diverticulitis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Your healthcare provider may use one or several of the following tests to help diagnose appendicitis:
- Blood test: To identify an infection
- Abdominal and/or rectal exam: To pinpoint the exact location of an infection
- Urine test: To rule out either a urinary tract infection or kidney stones
- CT scans, MRI or ultrasound: To provide a better look into the body and infected area
Treatment for Appendicitis
Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency. Treatment for appendicitis requires the removal of the appendix—known as an appendectomy—to prevent it from rupturing and causing further infection. An appendectomy will require one to two days of bed rest in the hospital after the procedure.
There are several different operations that surgeons can perform:
- Laparotomy: This surgery uses one abdominal incision that’s about 2-4 inches long to remove the appendix.
- Laparoscopic appendectomy or keyhole surgery: In this procedure, three small incisions are used to allow a laparoscope with a camera and light to project your appendix onto a monitor. The laparoscopy help guides small surgical tools through the other incisions so your healthcare provider can remove your appendix. This procedure usually allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring due to the smaller incision and little blood loss.
- Open appendectomy: Surgeons will perform this operation if your appendix has ruptured or if you have an abscess in order to clean the abdominal cavity.
Antibiotics may be prescribed to you in order to combat the infection. There is new research to suggest that antibiotics may be able to remove the need for surgery in certain cases.
Appendicitis causes a number of painful symptoms, and if not treated immediately, the appendix could rupture. A ruptured appendix is a life-threatening condition. Though the pain of appendicitis will initially subside, the infection will quickly spread throughout into the abdomen, leading to a condition called peritonitis, where the tissue that lines your abdominal wall (the peritoneum) becomes inflamed.
Symptoms of peritonitis include:
- Decreased appetite with extreme thirst
- Fever or chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- A decrease or complete ceasing of urination
Peritonitis can spread bacteria into the blood—a condition called septicemia. Your body's reaction to this will eventually lead to septic shock, which in turn can cause severely low blood pressure, multiple organ failure and, at worst, death.
Dealing with appendicitis can be a very painful experience, but treatment can be quick with an easy recovery. To schedule a consultation with healthcare practitioner in Wichita Falls who specializes in treatment for appendicitis, call (940) 242-3594 or contact Kell West Family Practice Clinic online.
Kell West Family Practice Clinic