23-year-old Rashmi always had a healthy lifestyle. As a young volleyball player, she kept herself active and enjoyed her time on the field. A few weeks back, she returned home from her practice and felt a sudden pain in the stomach. She thought it was a muscle cramp, and continued with her everyday chores. But the pain did not stop even after taking a painkiller, rather it increased all the more. In a few hours, Rashmi started vomiting. Unaware of what was happening, Rashmi’s parents rushed her to the hospital.

In the emergency room, Dr Pralhad told Rashmi’s parents that Rashmi’s appendix had become inflamed due to some blockage. If it had not been treated timely, Rashmi’s appendix could have burst, making it a very serious case.

While we often hear about it, appendicitis is not a very common condition. But keep in mind that it is a life-threatening emergency that must not be ignored. Let us understand what appendicitis is and how it can be diagnosed and treated. Appendicitis takes place in the appendix which is a finger-like organ, roughly around 4 inches and is a part of the GI tract, or the gastrointestinal tract. When the appendix gets blocked, bacteria can form thus causing swelling and/ or pus, increasing the pressure on the abdomen.

Rashmi’s case was of acute appendicitis, which happens suddenly and can be rather severe, and therefore, requires immediate medical intervention. In most cases, the appendix is removed surgically, but as there is no major role that an appendix plays removing the organ doesn’t typically have any ill-affects on a person’s health. In the case of chronic appendicitis, the symptoms are not as severe and may thus be challenging to diagnose.

The treatments post diagnose may include one of the following or a combination of two or more:

  • Drain the abscess using needle/ surgery
  • Painkiller medicines
  • IV fluids

Most experts believe that appendicitis is caused when there is any obstruction, but pinpointing the factors that cause appendicitis is not possible. Eating a diet that is rich in fibre, such as fruits, veggies, lentils, whole grains etc. may help in lowering the chances of appendicitis. However, in case you feel any of the symptoms, you need to seek medical help.

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