What do I do if my appendix bursts? (Query)

I often experience pain in my lower-right side of my abdomen, and I suspect it is appendicitis. I plan to visit my gastroenterologist soon, but there is a nagging fear that my appendix might burst. What first aid should I take in case that happens? Please reply.

This query has been answered by Dr Prakash G Jiandani, (Director) Critical Care at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai.

Appendicitis is a condition when the appendix, a small, worm-like part of your large intestine, becomes inflamed because of the accumulation of stool, bacteria or other harmful foreign particles. This causes a shooting pain in the middle of the abdomen (around the navel), which slowly moves to the lower-right side. The pain usually lasts for over six to twenty-four hours.

But pain alone is not a symptom of appendicitis and I would suggest that you visit a doctor immediately and get it diagnosed if it is bothering you a lot. The doctor will put you through a battery of tests such as urinalysis, CT scan, ultrasound or abdominal X-ray to ascertain whether you have appendicitis.

Although abdominal pain is the first symptom of appendicitis, look out for other signs such as nausea. Patients become averse to the idea of eating, mainly because of the pain and the vomiting. If along with these symptoms, your abdomen appears distended or bloated, you should consider seeing a doctor immediately.

Dangers of appendicitis

Appendicitis is a potentially fatal condition. If there is perforation of the appendix, and the patient not immediately rushed to the emergency room, it can cost him his life. The infectious material inside the appendix enters the abdominal cavity and cause inflammation of the peritoneum. An appendectomy or removal of the appendix is recommended in such cases.

What to do if the appendix bursts?

If you suspect a perforation of the appendix, there is only one solution: rush to the hospital as soon as possible. What has to be done next should be best left to the doctor.

What not to do if the…

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