The human body is amazingly adaptive. If you cut it, it heals. If you break a bone, it will mend. You can even take out organs, and the body will survive.
Everyone is born with an appendix, but many people experience problems with it at some point, leading to its removal. The most dangerous part of the appendix is when dysfunction begins.
Appendix issues are routine, but without swift action, the problem could turn deadly. Here are the top symptoms of appendicitis and safety tips so that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
What Is the Appendix, and Why Don’t You Need It?
The appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine. You can find the finger-shaped organ in the lower right area of the abdomen.
Surprisingly, despite various theories and estimations, no is quite sure what the appendix is there for or what it might do. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix due to various problems including:
- A blockage
- Nearby infection
- Inflamed bowels
- Trauma or injury
- Parasites growths
About 0.5% of the population will have appendicitis during their life.
Common Symptoms of Appendicitis
If you have appendicitis, you could experience a range of symptoms. In some people, the symptoms will progress quickly with no relief. In other situations, the symptoms will begin and remit, only to return at a later time.
The most commonly experienced symptom of appendicitis is pain. Almost everyone with appendix issues will report some level of pain during the inflammation.
Not only is pain the most common symptom, but it is also the first. In the beginning, the pain could be faint and will usually feel like it is coming from the area around your belly button.
With time, the pain could travel from your navel to the lower right side of your abdomen. It may worsen and intensify as over the next few hours.
Depending on the cause of your appendicitis, you could develop a low-grade fever. With the normal body temperature for most people being around 98.6 degrees, you could notice your temperature increase to 100 degrees or higher.
You may even notice other symptoms often associated with fever, including:
- Cold sweats
- Feeling hot
Since the fever is unlikely to climb high, you do not have to worry about dangerous outcomes linked to the fever. Of course, in this situation, the real danger is the issue with your appendix.
Nausea and Vomiting
As if the pain and fever were not enough, people with appendix problems will likely endure the discomfort of nausea and vomiting. The situation may begin with a low appetite before progressing to other, more intense symptoms.
The vomiting could follow a long period of nausea, or it simply comes out of the blue. At this stage, it might be challenging to differentiate your symptoms from other conditions like food poisoning or flu.
Don’t take too long to decide, though. Appendix symptoms may develop rapidly.
With pain being the primary symptom, you will need all the information you can about it. Many people say that the pain that comes with appendicitis is unlike any pain they have experienced previously.
Because of the pain, you may try to lay perfectly still and avoid all movement. The pain of appendicitis could get worse when you:
- Sit up straight
- Walk around
- Breathe deeply
Constipation or Diarrhea
As appendicitis continues to affect the digestive system, people regularly report feeling very constipated. They may have the intense feeling of needing to make a bowel movement, only to be unable to do so.
This situation is especially frustrating because people hope the appendicitis symptoms will improve with a bowel movement. Constipation makes this impossible, though.
On the other end of the spectrum, other people report diarrhea that results from the appendix inflammation. In either case, no one gains the wanted relief.
How to Respond to Appendicitis Symptoms
If you have reviewed these symptoms and have come to the conclusion that appendicitis is the source of your pain, gastrointestinal issues, and fever, do not delay. Laying down or taking some medication will not relieve the symptoms.
Depending on the intensity and duration of your symptoms, the best course of action is heading to the nearest emergency room immediately. If the pain is too severe to get there safely, call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance to get you.
With appendicitis, surgery to remove the organ, called an appendectomy, is a frequently used remedy. The procedure is often performed laparoscopically by making a few small incisions in the abdomen before taking the appendix.
At times, the doctors will decide to monitor the condition, but the risks linked to the organ bursting and spreading infection throughout the body are too great. With the appendix, know the signs and act fast.