Appendicitis is a medical condition, which is characterized by inflammation and swelling of the appendix (an extended finger-shaped tube connected to the cecum). There are two types of appendicitis - acute (severe) and chronic (mild). The most probable cause of appendicitis is blockage at the appendix opening due to mucus or stool accumulation. Over a period of time, these unwanted materials harden and bacterial infection occurs, leading to inflammation of the appendix. Though it occurs in any age group, the chances of appendicitis is high among people who are between 10 - 30 years.
Symptoms and Treatment of Appendicitis
Some of the noticeable signs of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and discomfort in the abdominal area, which usually progresses to severe, unbearable pain. Timely diagnosis and treatment of appendicitis are essential in order to prevent health complications such as periappendiceal abscess (pus collection), peritonitis (abdominal lining infection), and intestinal blockage. Based on the age of the patient and diagnostic result, the doctor may recommend either nonsurgical method or surgical procedure (appendectomy) for treating appendicitis.
In some cases, the body succeeds in healing the inflammation of appendix after proper administration of antibiotics. Thus, appendicitis recovery is possible without the intervention of surgical procedures. Such a nonsurgical appendicitis treatment is also recommended for patients who are not in a condition to undergo surgery or whose diagnostic results are not clear. During the recovery period, the patient is restricted to consumption of easily digestible foods such as clear liquid, semi liquid, and soft foods. In other words, a patient should abstain from food items that take longer time for digestion, until infection in the appendix is cured. As for the appendectomy cases, it is to be borne in mind that recovery may vary from one candidate to another.
Appendicitis Surgery and Recovery Time
Appendectomy or appendicitis surgery is considered as a reliable treatment approach for acute appendicitis. Basically, there are two common surgical methods for addressing appendicitis, namely laparotomy and laparoscopic surgery. In the former type, a single incision is made in the lower right abdomen to remove the inflamed appendix, whereas in case of the latter technique, appendix is removed by making three to four small incisions in the abdominal area. Following the surgery, the patient will be suggested to stay in the hospital for a few days to a week. If there are suspected complications, the length of hospital stay will be longer.
The concerned physician may suggest certain lifestyle changes to be followed during the appendectomy recovery period. Appendicitis recovery after surgery is usually achieved within 4 - 6 weeks, provided that the patient follows the postoperative care instructions carefully, as suggested by the physician. Nevertheless similar to any other treatment methods, the recuperation after surgery may differ from one candidate to another based on the overall health condition of the patient and the type of appendectomy performed. For example, if appendix bursting occurs prior to the surgery, then the recovery period may be longer than other regular cases of appendectomy.
Tips for Prompt Recovery After Appendicitis Surgery
As per data, appendicitis recovery after laparoscopic surgery is shorter in comparison to the laparotomy method. Also, the chances of complications after surgery such as hospital related infections are lowered in case of laparoscopic procedure. If required, pain relievers are prescribed to combat postoperative pain symptoms.
Following are some of the important steps that should be followed during the appendicitis recovery period.
- Do not indulge in strenuous physical activities or household works for at least 1 - 2 weeks after appendectomy, or as directed by the surgeon.
- Proper rest and sleep are necessary until the body heals completely. At the same time, mild movement activities should also be performed.
- While getting up from sitting or sleeping position, get up gently and walk slowly in small paces. Going for short walks is the best exercise during the appendectomy recovery period.
- Similar to other surgeries, infection is a probable complication of appendectomy. If there are any signs of soreness and infection at the incision site, one should immediately call the doctor.
- Regarding the food, the candidate is allowed to drink only clear liquid for one day following the operation. Later he/she should switch on to healthy food items (including solid foods) and drink an ample quantity of water.
- During the period of recovery, alcohol and heavy foods that slow down digestion are strictly not recommended.
Last but not the least, consult the doctor before going to work or resuming normal activities. With proper health care, complications can be avoided completely. For those with ruptured appendix before surgery, recovery time may extend to about 2 months. On the brighter side, majority of the candidates who have participated in the surgical treatment for appendicitis recover fully without requiring major lifestyle changes.