Appendix is a vestigial finger shaped organ which is attached to the colon. It is nearly two to four inches long. The inflammation of the appendix which causes severe abdominal pain is called appendicitis. It is one of the problems that can arise during pregnancy. The inflamed appendix may be filled with pus which causes severe pain and discomfort. Let’s get into some detailed account of appendix pain during pregnancy.
Symptoms and Treatment of Appendix Pain During Pregnancy
Symptoms of appendix pain or appendicitis during pregnancy
Severe pain is a significant symptom of appendicitis, but there are many other things as well which can be considered as signs of appendicitis. The symptoms of this problem in pregnant women are slightly different from the non-pregnant ones. Let’s have a look.
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of nausea
- Unusual vomiting
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Fever is the most common thing in appendix pain.
- Difficulty in urination.
- Diarrhoea and constipation(less common in pregnancy)
- Rebound tenderness in the lower right part of the abdomen.
- The pain in the abdomen spikes whenever you move around, cough, sneeze or take deep breath.
- Vaginal bleeding: bleeding while you are pregnant is the most uncommon thing. Less or excess any kind of bleeding from the vagina should be given immediate attention.
Appendix burst during pregnancy
Well, this may sound scary but if your appendix pain is not given proper treatment, it can rupture and rupturing of the appendix can lead to serious complications which may also lead to death of the mother as well as the baby. So, it’s better to remove the appendix if appendicitis is suspected rather than waiting for it to rupture.
Causes of appendix pain or appendicitis in pregnant women
Appendix pain can happen to anyone at any stage. So, if it has not bothered you till now, it is likely to occur during pregnancy. Appendix is a vestigial organ, so what causes it to create problem for us, let’s have a look.
- Blockage of the lumen (inside the appendix where mucus is created) of the appendix or the surface due to various internal or external factors.
- Blockage because of accumulation of faecal matter in the appendix.
- Ingestion of foreign stuff such as stones, pins or bullets, this may get settled in the appendix, thus causing appendicitis.
- Microbes such as pinworm which may be present in the intestinal tract can be a reason for appendix pain during pregnancy.
- Appendicitis can also be a result of accumulation of calcified faecal deposits which lead to appendix stone.
- If you are infected by bacteria such as salmonella, measles, shigella bacteria, etc. Then you are likely to suffer from appendix pain.
These are the common causes of appendix. Any of these may lead you and you baby into trouble. Moreover, if you have many people suffering from appendix pain in your family history, you are likely to suffer from the same problem. Your chances are three times more than any normal appendix patient.
Due to any of the above reasons, bacterial growth may take place inside the organ, thus leading to the formation of pus in it. The elevated pressure can become painful. It can also cause harm to the local blood vessels. So, the lack of blood flow in the appendix may cause gangrene.
Moreover, if by any chance the appendix ruptures, the bacteria or the faecal matter can fill the abdomen leading to emergency. Cecum, bladder, and sigmoid colon are the organs that are mainly affected by the rupture of appendix. The patient may also suffer from peritonitis (inflammation of tissue that lines the walls of the abdomen).
In case, if the appendix leaks instead of rupturing, it can cause abscess, but the infection is confined to a small walled off area.
Treatment of appendix pain
The treatment of appendicitis varies as per the condition of the appendix. But the possible treatment options for appendix pain during pregnancy are:
In case, there is mild inflammation and infection in the appendix, antibiotics work well to treat it. They are given intravenously for some time in order to gain better results.
Laparoscopic appendectomy or surgical treatment of appendicitis
If your appendix is severely inflamed or there are chances of perforation of the appendix. Surgery is the way out for you. If appendicitis strikes you during the first and the second trimester, laparoscopic appendectomy will be needful to release you from this problem. Laparoscopy is less invasive and you can recover faster. But, if you have already entered your third trimester, the doctor will have to do an open surgery for no lasting damage.
After the surgery, women are expected to take complete rest and avoid stressful work. The wellbeing of the baby is continuously monitored and response is noted. Several women undergo preterm contractions due to appendectomy during pregnancy. However, several women do not go into preterm labour due to this and they end up giving birth to a healthy baby.
The consequences of appendicitis are scary, isn’t it? But, the best part is you can be cured if proper medical attention is given on time. You can prevent this problem by taking rich fibrous food, drinking excess of water, including probiotics in your diet and doing brisk exercises. This will surely reduce the chances of appendix pain during pregnancy. But, in case you observe any kind of symptoms that hint about this problem, do not delay in meeting your doctor. If the problem is untreated or not handled with utmost care, the consequences can be really serious. You and your baby deserve a happy and healthy life, it all depends on you how you make it possible. Wish you good health and Happy Parenting!