Appendicitis is an infected or inflamed appendix. The appendix is pouch-like structure in the lower right side of the belly, near where the large intestine connects to the small intestine. The appendix may help the body fight infection, but its function is not entirely clear. It is not a necessary organ. Appendicitis is a medical emergency. An inflamed appendix can rupture and be life threatening.
Use InQuicker, the Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican online waiting service, to select your estimated arrival time at the emergency room for appendicitis in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
What Causes Appendicitis?
The appendix opens into the colon or large intestine. Most cases of appendicitis result from a foreign body, stool, or mucus blocking the opening or becoming trapped inside the appendix. The obstructed appendix then becomes infected, inflamed, or irritated.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The main symptom of appendicitis is pain in the belly that usually starts near the bellybutton. The pain often spreads to the lower right side. Sometimes, the whole belly area is painful. The pain usually occurs suddenly, progresses rapidly, and worsens when you cough, sneeze, take a deep breath, or move.
Other symptoms include:
- Chills and fever
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to pass gas
- Loss of appetite
If you have symptoms of appendicitis, see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. Your doctor may order a CT scan or abdominal ultrasound to see if your appendix is swollen or a blood test to check for infection.
Appendicitis Surgery & Treatment at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican
Treatment for appendicitis depends on whether or not your appendix has burst. Because of the high risk of rupture, surgery is the usual treatment for appendicitis. An inflamed appendix can rupture as quickly as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin. If the appendix ruptures, its contaminated contents can leak into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a severe infection called peritonitis. An appendectomy will prevent or treat this.
Sometimes people don’t realize they have appendicitis until their appendix bursts. This is more common in very old people, very young children, and pregnant women. If your appendix ruptures, you can become very ill very quickly. Surgery to clean out the belly and remove the appendix is necessary.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides emergency services, including care for appendicitis, in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.