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Appendix Pain Location

The appendix is a pouch-like, finger shaped structure that juts out from the colon, on the lower right side of the abdomen. This tiny organ has no known vital purpose or function, but that does not signify that it cannot cause problems.

Appendix pain can be caused due to a number of causes, including trauma, infection, bowel diseases and obstruction. However, appendicitis is considered as the primary cause of appendix pain. It is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix, resulting in it filling up with pus.

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Appendix pain location usually moves from one section of the abdomen to the other. But, the appendix pain may initially arise in the middle section of the upper abdomen, or may also start in the umbilical region. Appendix pain location associated with appendicitis results in pain that normally originates around the navel and then moves to the lower right side of the abdomen. Such appendix pain normally elevates over a period of twelve to eighteen hours, and ultimately turns extremely intense.

Appendix pain can occur in all individuals, but commonly affects individuals in the age group of 10 to 30 years. A majority of appendix pain cases, especially appendicitis, is treated by removing the appendix via surgery.

Appendix pain – symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms accompanying appendix pain are as follows:

  • Aching pain that commences around the navel area and commonly shifts to the lower right side of abdomen
  • A low-grade fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Application of pressure on the lower right side of abdomen results in tenderness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of ability to pass gas
  • Pain that becomes more intense over many hours
  • Constipation
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Intense pain in the lower right side of the abdomen that is experienced when pressure is applied on the region and then rapidly released, i.e. rebound tenderness.
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • The pain typically tends to aggravate while coughing, walking or making other types of jarring motions
  • Indigestion

It may be noted that the appendix pain location may differ as per age of the affected individual and the location of the appendix. The appendix pain location varies, particularly in pregnant women, while young children may experience it in different areas as well.

Some of the complications that arise from the main cause of appendix pain, i.e. appendicitis, are listed below:

  • A burst appendix: Rupturing of the appendix can lead to leakage of the intestinal contents and infectious pathogens into the abdominal cavity. This can then result in an infection of the abdominal cavity, i.e. peritonitis
  • Formation of a pocket of pus in the abdomen: In case the appendix ruptures, then the spilling of the intestinal matter and infection may cause an abscess to form. An abscess, i.e. appendiceal abscess, is a pocket of infection occurring around the appendix. Such abscess needs treatment before it breaks open, resulting in a more extensive infection of the abdominal cavity.

Causes of appendix pain

The exact cause of appendix pain or appendicitis isn’t always known. Occasionally, the condition may develop due to the following reasons:

  • A blockage: A solid, hardened piece of feces, i.e. fecal stone, or food waste can obstruct the opening of the cavity which occurs along the length of the appendix.
  • An infection: Appendicitis or appendix pain may also occur after an infection, such as a viral gastrointestinal infection; or it can be caused due to other forms of inflammation
    • It may be noted that in the above two cases, there is rapid multiplication of the bacteria present in the appendix which causes the appendix to become swollen, inflamed and full of pus. If it is not immediately treated, then the appendix may burst.
    • Bowel disease: Appendix pain can also be caused due to occurrence of disorders of the bowel such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
    • Trauma: Occasionally, trauma, injury or stress in the abdominal area can also lead to development of appendix pain

Surgical removal of Appendix

Appendicitis and other causes of appendix pain are usually resolved by surgical removal of the inflamed appendix. Depending on the situation of the patient, other treatment procedures may also be required

  • Appendectomy or surgical removal of the appendix: It can be carried out as an open surgery involving a single incision in the abdomen measuring about two to four inches long; or can be performed as a laparoscopic operation, using a few tiny incisions in the abdomen. In a laparoscopic appendix surgery, the surgeon places a video camera and specific surgical instruments into the abdomen to facilitate the removal of the appendix.
    • It may be noted that a laparoscopic appendectomy promotes a faster recovery and healing with reduced scarring. However, patients with a ruptured appendix wherein the infection has affected the regions far away from the appendix; or those with abscess formation, may require an open surgery. A surgeon is able to clean the abdominal cavity via an open appendectomy.
    • Draining of an abscess before an appendectomy: An abscess is drained by inserting a tube via the skin and into the abscess. The surgical removal of the appendix is generally conducted many weeks later, after the infection has been effectively and completely controlled.
    • Appendectomy recovery time

      The recovery time for the surgical removal of appendix can be based on factors like the general health before surgery, the age of patient and complications if any, during the surgery etc. The laparoscopic appendectomy has a shorter recovery time, where the post operative time may be for 12-14 hours and the patient could be back home, the next day. For open appendectomy, the patient may be in post-operative pain for 36 hours and may be hospitalized for 36 days.

      Normally, patients can do their normal duties like going to work, about four to six weeks after the surgery, unless the doctor decides otherwise. If there is a rupture in the appendix, then the surgery is longer and the recovery time is prolonged.

      You must get as much rest as possible after surgery. Post laparoscopic surgery, do not do strenuous activities for the first three to five days at least. In case of open appendectomy, the recovery time is 15 days after the surgery. You can do mild exercises like walking after a week of laparscopic sugery and four weeks after open surgery.

      You may experience pain in the abdomen during the appendectomy recovery time, especially when you cough, move or laugh. To minimize this pain, you may place a pillow on the abdomen and apply gentle pressure before moving. You should consult your doctor if the pain persists despite the pain killer medications he or she has given you.

      Appendectomy scar is a normal thing after the surgery. Eats food which has rich vitamins like Vitamin A, beta carotene and Vitamin C which can help in the healing of skin. Appendectomy scar is less in case of laparoscopic surgery.

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