Most of your body’s organs have well-known uses, but that’s not the case with the appendix. Some believe that your body stores good bacteria inside it to lessen the severity of gastrointestinal illness, however that’s just a theory at this point. One area in which medical experts do agree on when it comes to appendicitis is the serious nature. If left untreated, it can be fatal, so it’s essential to know the signs and symptoms to help determine when to call 911 or go to the ER.
Most of the time, symptoms appear suddenly. Then they continue to get worse until becoming unbearable. Some of the symptoms include:
Complications of a Ruptured Appendix
Your appendix can rupture as soon as 48 hours after your first symptom appears. Unfortunately, a ruptured appendix can create severe, life-threatening complications.
You’re at risk for an appendicular abscess if it ruptures. If that happens, you’ll need a drainage tube to remove the fluid before a surgeon can remove your appendix. At the same time, your physician will likely prescribe antibiotics to attack the dangerous infection.
Peritonitis is also a possible complication. This abdominal infection can quickly spread through the abdomen, putting your life at risk. Your medical team will need to prepare you for surgery to remove the ruptured organ and address the infection.
Finally, you could develop sepsis if the infection reaches your bloodstream. This can impact numerous organs and can be fatal. You’ll need to stay in the hospital while receiving treatment for this.
Diagnosing Appendicitis at the ER
After arriving at the emergency room, you’ll go over your symptoms and undergo a physical exam. Additionally, your doctor will use diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out the condition. This can include a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound. You also might need a blood test so the doctor can determine if you’re also dealing with an infection.
Unfortunately, taking medicine isn’t enough to treat appendicitis. Instead, you need to have the organ removed to avoid life-threatening complications. If your appendix isn’t ruptured, the surgeon might recommend laparoscopic surgery. However, open surgery is needed to address a ruptured appendix.
While surgery is the main course of treatment, antibiotics are often required. This might include IV antibiotics before undergoing the surgical procedure.
Recovering After Surgery
You’ll start down the road to recovery after removing your appendix. However, you’ll need to take it easy while your body heals. Your surgeon will go over the specific after-care instructions. It usually takes one to three weeks to recover fully after laparoscopic surgery, but recovery from open surgery may take four weeks.
Get Life-Saving Treatment at ShorePoint Health Emergency and Urgent Care
With our ER and urgent care facility in Cape Coral, ShorePoint Health Emergency and Urgent Care can treat everything from stomach pain to a ruptured appendix. If you have any symptoms, head to our facility or call 911 immediately. Our team will take fast action to diagnose you, and then we will begin treatment. Prompt treatment is the key to avoiding severe, life-threatening complications, so don’t delay.