Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of emergency abdominal surgeries in India. A little awareness can save you the pain
It’s just another day at work for you and you’re racing against time to meet your deadlines, when you suddenly become aware of a sharp shooting pain in your abdomen. It hits you out of the blue and can almost be crippling. You retrace your thoughts to everything you may have eaten to check if your stomach is simply acting up due to over eating or it’s contaminated food that is The culprit. But even as you jog your memory, you realise that your food had nothing to do with this sudden shooting spasms in your stomach muscles.
As the day progresses, the pain just gets worse, making it harder for you to concentrate on your work. It’s leaving you nauseous. You check with your doctor and a few tests later realise that it is an inflamed appendix that is the culprit. In fact, appendicitis is so common that it accounts for the largest numbers of emergency abdominal surgeries in the country, says Dr Sundeep Lakhtakia, consultant gastroenterologist at Asian Institute of Gastroenterology.
What it is
The appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine and when this gets inflamed it is called appendicitis. “This usually occurs when the appendix gets blocked by faeces, a foreign object, or rarely, a tumour,” says Dr Lakhtakia. Theories also abound that a viral infection could also result in an appendicitis.
“Symptoms usually present in the form of a shooting pain in the stomach (around the belly button area), a reduced appetite, fever, nausea, chills, diarrhoea etc. It is however, harder to diagnose the condition in young children, elderly and women of childbearing age. As the pain increases it will move to the lower right side of the abdomen,” Dr Lakhtakia.
“The treatment for appendicitis is appendectomy or removal of the appendix. Since it is a vestigial organ it’s removal does not affect the patient. In case it is not treated on time, then it could either rupture, which creates complications or there could pus formation around the appendix which once again makes it riskier,” explains Dr Lakhtakia.