Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:00 AM
- It's a rarity. The first thing you should consider when getting yourself into a panic is that IBS is a condition which many, many people suffer from. As many as 1 in 3 people will experience some form of IBS at some point in their life, however mild or severe it may be, while chronic appendicitis is a freak condition which rarely occurs. Consider the fact that for a while it was believed to not even exist as an indicator of just how rare it is and just how unlikely it is that your pains are related to it.
- The symptoms are different. A text book example of chronic appendicitis is simply a general feeling of illness, and even in severe cases, it is usually described as "a very upset stomach". Typically, in chronic form, appendicitis doesn't present as a localised pain. When looking up the condition, you'll find many varied descriptions of it since it's been so misunderstood, but the most reliable sources claim that it is difficult to diagnose due to the low number of symptoms. Since there isn't any actual feeling in the appendix itself, appendicitis pain tends to begin as an overall stomach pain, around your navel or over the whole stomach, which slowly becomes more and more agonising, and it isn't until the point where the infection is critical that the pain localises to McBurney's Point, which is in the lowest, rightmost part of your colon. As such, your localised pain and how long it's lasted is more of an indicator that you don't have chronic appendicitis.I also believe (not entirely confirmed, but 99%) that an infected appendix can't cause pain all the way over on the left hand side, so the moving nature of IBS cramps are a pretty strong indicator that you're okay, even if the pain is predominantly right-sided.
- It's not bowel movement focused. Hear me out here, because I do have a point. It's true, an infected appendix can cause constipation or diarrhoea just like any stomach problem, but it's a side-effect of the infection, not the centre of it. An IBS sufferer can see a clear link between irregular bowel movements and their pains. In fact, irregular bowel movements aren't even a common symptom of an infected appendix - most sufferers experience just pain and possibly nausea and vomiting.
- Not affected by foods. Your appendix is either infected or it isn't. Eating a pork chop wouldn't cause it to become more infected, only to calm down again later. We all have the certain foods which set us off, whether you're in control of your IBS yet or not, we know that eating a rasher of bacon (or whatever happens to be your trigger) makes the pain worse. In theory, this makes no sense whatsoever in the context of an appendiceal infection.
- No surgery required. While surgery is the best way to cure appendicitis, the reason it is the only method used to treat acute appendicitis is entirely due to the fact that it's a medical emergency. There are actually antibiotics available which can obliterate an appendiceal infection (though a few repeated treatments are required as it tends to come back), and if diagnosed with chronic appendicitis, this is the way you would be treated.
- Won't usually become acute. While everybody has a friend of a friend who has heard stories of a "grumbling appendix" which later became acute, it's usually not the case. In fact, due to the body's defenses, a seal is formed around the organ making a rupture leading to life-threatening peritonitis a very unlikely thing to happen if chronic appendicitis has been experienced.
- If you are in trouble, it'll be less jarring. Strange sentence? Yeah, I guess so, but the reason I say this is that while chronic appendicitis can still be life-threatening if untreated for a long period of time, usually the moment you realise you need to be treated won't involve waking up in intense agony and being carried to hospital. Chronic appendicitis, if reaching critical levels, tends to spread the infection to other areas, just making you very, very ill. Not comforting, no, but wouldn't you rather end up getting checked out for feeling really unwell than be rushed to the ER screaming?
Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:43 AM
Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:55 AM
Posted 09 February 2009 - 11:57 PM