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Appendicitis Is a Medical Emergency That Requires Urgent Treatment

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes infected or inflamed. Sometimes, symptoms come and go. However, your appendix could burst, so this is a medical emergency, even if your symptoms go away for a bit.

Appendicitis is a common condition, with approximately 1 in 1,000 Americans developing it over the course of their lives. While you’re at the highest risk when you’re between 10-30 years old, you can get it at any age. Thus, it’s important to learn the symptoms so you’ll know when to visit the emergency room for swift treatment.

What Are the Symptoms?

You’ll notice numerous signs of appendicitis if you have this condition. You should call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain that comes on suddenly (usually on the right side)
  • Pain that worsens when coughing or walking
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Indigestion and loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Unable to pass gas
  • Fever

If you notice any acute appendicitis symptoms, do not wait to see if it gets better. Instead, seek treatment immediately.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When you go to the ER due to appendicitis symptoms, your doctor will run diagnostic tests. Pediatric patients undergo an ultrasound, but adults get a CT scan of the pelvis or abdomen.

If you are diagnosed with the condition, your provider will likely recommend surgery. You don’t need your appendix, but keeping it in your body can cause severe complications. In addition, your provider will need to treat the infection and will likely drain any abscesses that have formed.

If your appendix has not ruptured, your surgeon will simply remove it. However, if it has ruptured, the surgeon has to remove the organ and thoroughly clean the area.

Your provider might recommend laparoscopic or open surgery. If you get laparoscopic surgery, you might be discharged the same day. At most, you’ll be ready to leave the hospital within 24 hours as long as there aren’t any complications. Then, you can expect a full recovery within three weeks, if not less.

Open surgery is a more intensive process that requires a longer recovery time. You might need to take it easy for up to six weeks after open surgery. In addition, you will stay longer in the hospital so your provider can monitor your recovery.

Appendicitis is always a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. If you notice any symptoms, visit the emergency room or call 911.