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Do You Need a Hospital for Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain in the United States. Up to 9% of every 100 people develop this at least once. It happens when the appendix becomes inflamed, likely because of a blockage.

The appendix is pouch like part of the intestine located near the lower-right part of the abdomen. If a blockage occurs inside the appendix, bacteria will build up, leading to swelling and inflammation. Eventually, pus will develop and cause pain.

Leaving appendicitis alone is dangerous. It can cause the appendix to burst, and the bacteria can spread through the abdominal cavity creating complications that can be fatal.

Appendicitis Symptoms to Look Out For

Appendicitis often starts with mild cramping around the abdomen or belly button. Cramping then moves to the lower and to the right. The pain can come out of nowhere and worsens in a few hours. Some people will experience more pain when coughing or sneezing. Other common symptoms associated with appendicitis include:

  • Fever
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling of the abdomen

Less common symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation and the inability to pass gas. It is crucial not to take laxatives if there is constipation involved. Laxatives can cause the appendix to burst, resulting in complications.

Complications from Appendicitis

The primary complication doctors want to avoid in this situation is the appendix rupturing if left untreated. That is why diagnosis and an appendectomy should be performed as soon as possible.

Bacteria spreading through the abdominal cavity can cause several potentially life-threatening infections, including:

  1. Abscess – a pocket of tissue that becomes filled with pus.
  2. Peritonitis – an infection of the lining in the abdominal cavity called the peritoneum.
  3. Sepsis – a condition where bacteria can enter blood stream and travel to other parts of the body.

Appendicitis Treatment

The primary treatment for appendicitis is a surgery called an appendectomy. In some mild but rare cases, antibiotics are enough to treat the condition. Other appendicitis treatments include:

  • Draining the abscess if it has formed and has not burst
  • IV fluids
  • Liquid diet
  • Pain relievers

The risks associated with an appendectomy are lower compared to leaving the condition alone, especially if the pain is severe. Late-stage appendicitis will require emergency surgery.

Appendicitis Treatment at UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center

If you feel severe abdominal pain, you should seek emergency care immediately. Appendicitis treatment should be done as soon as possible to prevent it from bursting and causing complications. Visit any of our three Emergency & Urgent Care Centers in Jacksonville, Fla., for help. We are open 24/7.