Acute, Chronic and Perforated Appendicitis

What Is Acute Appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix and is one of the most frequent causes of acute abdominal pain. It is often treated surgically as an emergency. As we still do not know the real reason behind the occurrence of acute appendicitis, it needs to be treated cautiously. Some may get it because of an obstruction of food or fecal matter; others may get it due to an infection. Under certain conditions, the bacteria may multiply within the appendix. The appendix may swell, and become filled with pus, and eventually rupture. Whatever the reason, immediate medical aid is required as this is a life threatening situation. Although the cause of appendicitis is not completely explored, it has been established that after surgical removal of the appendix, a person can live a healthy and normal life. But, when the appendix bursts inside the body, all the infection contained within it gets released into the abdominal area. The consequences of this are very serious, and you need to be treated with antibiotics immediately. Appendicitis is the most common acute surgical procedure carried out on the abdomen.

What Is Chronic Appendicitis?

Although acute appendicitis is more common and develops quickly, chronic appendicitis is more rare and much slower. Therefore, when it comes to chronic appendicitis, timely recognition of the condition and treatment becomes a difficult job.

Some people with chronic appendicitis may only feel fatigue and mild pain in their stomach. It is natural to confuse this condition with a common stomach flu or virus. If discovered in time, it can be treated with powerful antibiotics, saving the patient the need to undergo surgery. Just because it takes longer to recognize the symptoms, does not mean chronic appendicitis should be taken lightly. Fever, intense pain and nausea are generally not the symptoms of chronic appendicitis; therefore there is a big chance that it might go unnoticed. Due to the slow progress of chronic appendicitis, you will find that infection may spread all over the abdominal area. The symptoms often vary from patient to patient; therefore, only a doctor can diagnose it correctly.

Many say a healthy diet will reduce the chances of chronic appendicitis, but this is not always the case. Just because you tend to live a healthy life and include lots of vegetables and fruit in your diet, does not mean the chances of getting chronic appendicitis are completely eliminated.

The only real difference between acute and chronic appendicitis is that chronic appendicitis takes longer to develop but is just as lethal.

What Is Perforated Appendicitis?

As the amount of pus in the appendix keeps on increasing, over a period of time it will burst open or perforate. Perforated appendicitis is where a hole is formed in the inflamed appendix. This may occur 48 to 72 hours after the symptoms begin. The entire contents of the appendix are released into the abdominal area. Due to its seriousness, a perforated appendix needs to be treated as soon as possible by removal. If the appendix swells and ruptures or perforates, a periappendiceal abscess may form. This is generally a sac of infection or pus which forms around the appendix and needs to be drained so that the person doesn’t develop a serious abdominal infection.