Early Warning Signs of APPENDICITIS and Its Urgent Treatment
- Author Najat Ruhi
- Published June 28, 2021
- Word count 849
The inflammation of an appendix (a small finger-shaped pouch on the right side of the abdomen connected to the colon) or also be referred to as ‘Appendicitis’, is one of the most common serious conditions worldwide, where people usually misunderstood it as common gastric pain in the first place. There are many cases of appendicitis patients who have initially buy their own medicines to relieve their abdominal pain, but later coming to the doctor when they have reached the late stage of appendicitis. At this stage, the pain is severe enough and the appendix had almost burst or worse, it had burst, in which an urgent surgery is crucial to be done instantly. As the appendicitis signs may show up as quickly as within 1-3 days after the onset of the early symptoms, it is important to take note of the early warning signs seriously so that the doctors can remove the appendix right away before it ruptures and increase the risk of fatality.
Sometimes, different patients can present with different symptoms but usually, there is a common pattern that at least people can be aware of. In the early stage, patients usually will come to see a doctor because of fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation, and bloated feeling. Some patients may have all these symptoms, and others may only have some. These early symptoms of appendicitis have similar symptoms as other abdominal or pelvic-related diseases like gastric (stomach) problem, urinary tract infection, intestinal obstruction, etc. That cause appendicitis is hard to diagnose at first. Important to understand here, a patient will never be considered an appendicitis patient until a doctor diagnoses the condition as appendicitis, the same goes for other medical conditions.
Each disease or medical condition has its own methods to be confirmed as a diagnosis before proceeding with its treatment and management. Thus, to confirm the diagnosis of appendicitis, the doctor will do some simple physical checkups. One of them is by doing some palpations, especially on the patient’s abdomen. If there is the presence of sharp pain at a specific point (called Mc Burney’s point) over the right lower abdomen where the base of the appendix usually located, this will be referred to as the most important sign in a patient with appendicitis as what had been focused by Dr. Sandy Craig, a Gastroenterologist, in Medscape. Whereas for a pregnant woman, the sharp pain usually is referred at the right upper abdomen. Right after the sign can be seen by a doctor, the patient will be asked or sent promptly to a hospital for urgent treatment.
However, in some cases of appendicitis, this important sign is not presented yet at the beginning. Due to the insufficient sign, the doctor cannot diagnose the patient as appendicitis, therefore has no right to send their patient to any hospital even to be warded for early action, unless other serious or sudden symptoms had shown up. Therefore, it is common for appendicitis patients initially to be diagnosed with other disease such as gastritis, and concerning that, they will also receive some medicines to reduce the pain and treat the symptoms that appeared. In this case, the patient can look at how their body is reacting to the medicines. If the pain did not change and the symptoms become worsen, it might give a clue that their body is suffering something worse. Because patients usually misunderstand appendicitis as common gas pain, Dr. James Roland who is a Family Medicine Specialist had given an important reminder in a Healthline article to note that if patients think their abdominal pain is caused by gas in their abdomen, but it lasts for more than 24 hours, the pain may be a sign for other serious problem. Thus, that patient needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Once the appendicitis patients get warded in any hospital, they can feel a bit of relief because at least their condition will be monitored by the nurses and doctors. Because this case is usually included in an emergency case, surgery is always the best choice. Dr. Sandy Craig in his same writing within the treatment section had also appointed that the surgical removal of appendix or called appendectomy remains the only curative treatment for appendicitis, but in some different cases, the management can be varied. In order to perform the surgery, the doctors will need to perform first a laboratory test and imaging test to get a clear diagnosis, only if appendicitis is caught early in the patient.
In conclusion, appendicitis is a serious condition that mostly needs to be treated as early as possible. Since life is a one-time offer, you cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start from where you are and change the ending. As a bit of advice, always be conscious of anything changes on your body's health, do not hesitate and procrastinate to meet a doctor when notice any problem and finally trust your doctors and nurses and try to give good cooperation to help them save your life.
Written by Najat Ruhi Binti Ahmad Sa'aduddin, a second-year medical student in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).
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