Acute appendicitis

What is Acute Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is the most common acute abdominal condition in adults, affecting several people each year in the United States. This means that hospitals are almost always overflowing with people complaining of acute appendicitis. 

However, what does this mean? How do you know if you’re suffering from it? Appendicitis is a severe issue that can be fatal in some cases if not treated. Understanding what it is will help you know whether or not you should see a doctor.

What is Acute Appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, and it can be painful, which can cause abdominal pain that may appear within hours and worsen if left untreated.

The appendix is a small, pear-shaped sac in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen. It is about 1 to 3 inches long. It functions as a storage container for food, vitamins, minerals, and fluids the body doesn’t need. It helps keep food from going through the colon and out of the body.

Causes of Acute Appendicitis

The appendix becomes inflamed once something blocks its interior, and inflammation and swelling of the appendix occur as a consequence. The appendix’s blood supply decreases and eventually stops working as the swelling increases. If not enough blood is supplied to the appendix, the appendix could die or burst.

These are some of the leading causes:

  • A digestive tract infection is usually caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite that causes swelling in the appendix.
  • Stomach contents blocking the tube between the large intestine and the appendix
  • Cancerous growths
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Abdominal injuries or traumas
  • This results in the appendix becoming swollen and inflamed.

Can Anyone Get Appendicitis?

In most cases, appendicitis affects people in their teens or early 20s, but it can sometimes occur at any age. The most common time for an appendix to rupture in children is during their tweens and teens. 

Appendicitis usually affects people who are overweight and people who consume a lot of red and processed meats. In addition, appendicitis is more common in people who take steroids or who use certain drugs.

Symptoms of Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis usually manifests quickly and with severe symptoms. Within a few hours, they may worsen. Symptoms of acute appendicitis include one or more of these:

  • Diarrhea
  • Digestion problems
  • A swollen abdomen
  • Appetite loss
  • Indigestion
  • Not being able to pass gas
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • You may experience discomfort in your upper abdomen.
  • Right lower abdomen pain

If you have symptoms of acute appendicitis, it is best not to use any pain relief medication since this can suppress symptoms that your doctor needs to know.

Treatment of Acute Appendicitis

In some cases of appendicitis without complications, antibiotics are a possible alternative to an appendectomy. A surgical procedure to remove the appendix is an appendectomy.

An appendectomy, the standard treatment for appendicitis, is still the most effective treatment. But antibiotics alone can be used if the appendix has not burst or caused an abscess. An individual with acute appendicitis is almost always hospitalized.

Most surgeries are performed as quickly as possible to prevent the infection from spreading or complications from arising. The patients will also be prohibited from eating or drinking before the surgery. Medications will be given intravenously to relieve pain and to replenish fluid replacements.

Healthy individuals recover quickly without complications from the procedure, especially if it is done before the appendix bursts. You may only need to stay in the hospital for a few days.

When Is the Right Time to Call a Doctor?

Whenever you notice appendicitis signs again after an antibiotic-only treatment, contact your healthcare provider. During your recovery from appendectomy surgery, you may want to get your provider if you have the following side effects:

  • indigestion
  • Feeling feverish.
  • There is swelling, redness, or yellow pus in the surgical incision area.
  • Lower right abdominal pain

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Post Oak ER


Acute appendicitis is a potentially fatal condition that may need to be treated. It occurs when the appendix gets inflamed due to a blockage of the appendix leading to bacterial infection. 

The symptoms of acute appendicitis include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain, fever, and nausea. If left untreated, appendicitis can lead to rupture of the appendix and life-threatening infection, resulting in abdominal pain, fever, and even shock.