If you think you have burst appendix symptoms, get to the emergency room immediately. A burst appendix can cause bacteria to travel throughout the body, leading to life-threatening complications.
The Dangers of Appendicitis
The appendix is a small, finger-like appendage found at the entrance to the large intestine. It is located in the lower, right-hand side of the abdomen. If the opening from the appendix to the large intestine becomes blocked, the appendix swells due to a buildup of bacteria. If appendicitis is not treated, the appendix explodes, spreading bacteria throughout the abdominal cavity, where it starts to attack other organs.
Though scientists do not know exactly the part the appendix plays in the body, it has been found that removal of the appendix does not affect a patient's health. No changes to diet or lifestyle are needed if your appendix is removed.
In the first stages of appendicitis disease, a dull pain that is difficult to locate appears in the abdomen. Over the course of the next 24 to 72 hours, this pain becomes stronger and more localized as the appendix swells.
If the appendix bursts, the localized pain will be replaced with pain throughout the abdomen. From this point, there can be a variety of symptoms. Nausea, vomiting and fever are all common. Severe cramps can occur if the bacteria attack the intestines. Sepsis, a life-threatening infection of the blood, can occur if bacteria enters the bloodstream.
If appendicitis is caught in the very early stages, treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories can sometimes stop the swelling and reverse the infection. If the swelling is severe or the appendix has burst, the only treatment is to remove the appendix. Depending on the circumstances, the patient may be treated with antibiotics before the surgery and after the surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery, which uses a much smaller incision and a tiny camera, can be used if the appendix has not burst. After the appendix bursts, regular abdominal surgery is generally performed to survey any bacterial damage to other organs.
Once the appendectomy is completed, the patient usually stays on antibiotics and stays in the hospital for two to three days, depending on the speed of recovery. If the bacteria spread into the rest of the body, the hospital stay may be longer than two to three days, to ensure that there are no other complications from the burst appendix.