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Appendicitis During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

During the pregnancy period, one of the most common problems that a soon-to-be mother faces are stomach pains and spasms. Most of the times they are just passing cramps and are not harmful to your body, but if you fear the risk of appendicitis, you should be aware of the appendicitis symptoms and how to be able to deal with it when it happens

Table Of Content:

So, what is appendicitis?

Appendicitis in pregnant women

What are the causes of appendicitis?

Appendicitis symptoms during pregnancy period

1. Loss of appetite

2. High Fever

3. Nausea

4. Vaginal bleeding

5. Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Diagnosing appendicitis during pregnancy

1. Blood tests

2. Imaging tests

3. Urine test

Appendicitis treatment in pregnant women

1. Medication

2. Appendix surgery or laparoscopic appendectomy

Taking care after the appendix surgery

Conclusion

So, what is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped vestigial organ attached to the colon. Although the appendix on its own doesn’t serve any purpose, it sometimes gets filled with pus which causes severe pain and spasms until the body gets the appendicitis treatment and is cleared of the appendix.

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Appendicitis in pregnant women

Although appendicitis is not a very common phenomenon in pregnant women, in the cases of acute appendicitis, it occurs to about 1 out of 1000 women, mostly in the first and second trimesters, but sometimes in the third trimester as well in rare cases. It is one of the only health complications to happen during pregnancy that requires appendix surgery to treat it. To be on the safe side and avoid complications, you should be aware of what the symptoms of appendicitis are to be able to avoid appendicitis during pregnancy, risking your and your baby's health.

In very rare cases you may also experience chronic appendicitis, which results in grumbling and dull pain in the abdomen.

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What are the causes of appendicitis?

The sooner you identify that you have appendicitis during pregnancy the better, so whether you're pregnant or not, it always helps to be aware of the symptoms of appendicitis. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

1. Appendicitis might occur due to the presence of intestinal microbes, such as pinworms, in the digestive tract

2. The intrusion of any foreign items, like pins or buttons in the abdominal region

3. Any damage caused to the appendiceal lumen, located in the appendix in the region where mucus is created, due to both internal or external factors.

4. The accumulation of faeces in the appendix region, which may cause a blockage and lead to severe pain.

5. Formation of appendix stones, or the calcified faecal deposit in the abdominal region.

6. Appendicitis during pregnancy can also be caused by bacterial infections like salmonella, measles or the Shigella bacteria.

Apart from these, it could also just be plain genetics that causes appendicitis. So if you have a family history of appendicitis, do make sure to consult the doctor for regular checkups.

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Appendicitis symptoms during pregnancy period

Watch out for these signs of appendicitis during pregnancy period:

1. Loss of appetite

If you experience an abnormal loss of appetite or constipation and fatigue during the pregnancy period, do consult your doctor as it might be appendicitis.

2. High Fever

High fever is one of the first appendicitis symptoms. So if you have been affected by high fever that just doesn't go away, you might need a check-up.

3. Nausea

Nausea and vomiting are both prevailing appendicitis symptoms. However, they are also common symptoms of any pregnancy. So if you experience nausea along with abdominal pain during pregnancy, then it may be a symptom of appendicitis.

4. Vaginal bleeding

Vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy period is never a good sign, and if it accompanied by striking pain in the abdominal region, then it's very likely to be appendicitis. However, you should always address vaginal bleeding with medical help, whether it's light or heavy, to prevent appendicitis surgery.

5. Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Stomach pains are common in the pregnancy period, but you must be aware of where exactly the appendix pain comes from. If you are experiencing discomfort in the region of the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, and the pain worsens with pressure, it is most likely that you have been affected with appendicitis and that you need to seek medical help to get it removed.

The tricky part is that, if you experience these appendicitis symptoms during the last stages of your pregnancy, they can be easily confused with labour pains which are a common and harmless part of any pregnancy. However, if you feel the abdominal pain during pregnancy persists and only gets worse with time, do make sure you go to your doctor and get it checked, to avoid further problems for you and the baby.

Also, if you neglect the appendicitis symptoms of appendicitis for a long time, it may result in the bursting of the appendix, which could lead to further issues like maternal and fetal morbidity. So, it is highly advised to go to the doctor in the case of any signs of appendicitis.

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Diagnosing Appendicitis During Pregnancy

If you experience abdominal pain during pregnancy, and you or your doctor suspect appendicitis, the following procedures can be done to confirm and diagnose the condition:

1. Blood tests

Blood tests can be conducted to detect the white blood cell count, which usually increases when you have appendicitis.

2. Imaging tests

Imaging tests like MRI and CT may be performed to get a computerized image and detect the condition of the appendix.

3. Urine test

As appendicitis usually leads to UTIs, the presence of the condition may be detected through urine tests.

If you experience any of these appendicitis symptoms, it might mean that you have appendicitis and require appendix surgery or appendectomy.

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Appendicitis Treatment In Pregnant Women

There are two major ways to treat and remove the appendix during the pregnancy period:

1. Medication

If you just have a mild case of appendicitis or a mild inflammation, it can be cured with the help of tablets and intravenous medication.

2. Appendix surgery or laparoscopic appendectomy

If your appendix is highly inflamed or if the doctor feels you have a perforation of the appendix, then the only way out would be to get the appendicitis surgery. If you are in your first or second semester, the appendix can be removed with just the help of laparoscopic appendectomy, but if you are in your third trimester, due to the large uterus, it may require a larger incision and you will require appendicitis surgery.

After the surgery, most doctors will monitor the baby for a period to make sure the mother does not go into premature labour. In most cases, the surgery does no harm and the mother can peacefully continue with the pregnancy period.

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Taking Care After The Appendix Surgery

As with any surgery, there are some recovery measures you have to be careful of as you recuperate from the appendicitis surgery. Some of them are as follows:

1. Have a well-balanced diet

2. Avoid lifting heavy objects

3. Make sure to drink a lot of water

4. Take a lot of rest and limit your movements for a while after the surgery

5. Keep regular follow-up sessions with the doctor to prevent further complications

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Conclusion

To sum it up, appendicitis may seem scary, but it's not a very big complication during your pregnancy period. The best way would be to detect any appendicitis symptoms at an earlier stage and do the necessary appendicitis treatment.

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