Recognising Appendicitis

If your doctor suspects that you might have appendicitis, they will perform a physical exam. They will check for pain in the lower right area of your abdomen and may also look for swelling or rigidity. Depending on what your doctor finds during your physical exam, they may order one or more additional tests to check for signs of appendicitis or rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Testing for Appendicitis

A number of tests are done to determine whether pain is appendicitis or not here are a few

  • Complete blood count – a complete blood count is a blood sample taken to measure information of blood cells. 
  • Urine test – Appendicitis is often accompanied by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections can also sometimes occur in one or more of your urinary tissues or other abdominal organs, causing symptoms similar to those of appendicitis. In order to rule out a urinary tract infection or kidney stones as a potential cause of your symptoms, your doctor may use urinalysis. 
  • Pregnancy test – Ectopic pregnancy is often mistaken for appendicitis. This is when a fertilized egg implants itself in a fallopian tube, which is a life threatening condition. The pain associated with this can be mistaken for appendicitis. 
  • Pelvic exam – If you’re a woman, abdominal pain can be caused by a range of gynaecological disorders. The most common ones include pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis.
  • Abdominal imaging tests – To check for inflammation of your appendix, your doctor might order abdominal imaging tests. This can also help them identify other potential causes of your abdominal pain which could be an abscess or faecal impaction. These include MRI scan, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan.
  • Chest imaging tests – If the doctor thinks you might have pneumonia, they will likely order a chest x-ray. Doctors may also employ a computerized tomography (CT) scan as part of different diagnostic procedures such as those used to check for appendicitis.

In Chinese Medicine appendicitis is recognised by meridian points on the body. Meridians are channels for qi (energy) and blood. Each point on a meridian links to an area of the body. When there is an upset in the body this ties with a blockage in the meridian. An acupuncturist will feel the different placements associated with the condition, to find pain and recognise where it’s coming from and why. 

Possible Complications if Not Treated

Appendicitis can cause serious complications. For example, it may cause a pocket of pus known as an abscess to form in your appendix. The abscess could leak pus and bacteria into your abdominal cavity or even rupture. When the appendix ruptures, faecal matter and more toxins can spread into your abdominal cavity. If bacteria were to spill into your abdominal cavity, it can lead to an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity. This is known as peritonitis, and it can be severe; even potentially fatal. Bacterial infections can also affect other organs in your abdomen. If disease exits your appendix or abscess, the bacteria may travel to your bladder or colon. It can also travel through your bloodstream to other parts of your body (i.e. arms and legs).

Treating and recognising appendicitis is extremely important. If you have any signs it’s a good idea to see a healthcare professional immediately. At Centre of Balance we can recognise and help you to manage this condition with Chinese Herbal Medicine and acupuncture. This is a natural approach that does not require surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. If you’re at risk or want to learn more give us a call or email. 

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References

 medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/complete-blood-count-cbc/

 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_blood_count