Appendicitis comes on suddenly — the symptoms can manifest in a period of a few hours or so, and if no treatment is done, it can cause the organ to rupture. But did you know that there are instances when appendicitis can last for a long time? Read on to learn more about how long it takes before you fully heal from appendicitis.
Most Appendicitis Cases Are Acute
When people discuss appendicitis, they’re usually talking about acute appendicitis. It begins with abdominal pain around the bellybutton that then migrates to the lower right abdomen. This pain can intensify and be followed by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, appetite loss and constipation.1
If the inflammation is not addressed or the infected organ is not removed immediately, it will be subjected to more intense pressure that will cause it to rupture. This is very dangerous, as the contents of the appendix will spill into the abdomen, potentially causing further infections.2
Appendicitis occurs very swiftly. After the preliminary symptom, which is pain, the other symptoms will manifest within 24 hours. The time it usually takes for the blockage to form until the appendix ruptures is only 72 hours, and sometimes less.
This is why if you feel intense abdominal pain and experience the other signs above, you should contact your physician immediately. Most people are able to address this condition promptly, though, as the pain is so intense that they consult their physician 12 to 48 hours after it begins.3
Chronic Appendicitis: A Long-Lasting Form of This Ailment
There are instances, though, when the appendix is obstructed only partially. Over time, the inflammation worsens and internal pressure will build up, causing intense abdominal pain. However, instead of bursting, the pressure will overcome the obstruction, and the contents will move out of the organ.
When this occurs, the symptoms will either fully or partially subside, only returning if the obstruction causes the appendix to once more become inflamed; this is known as chronic appendicitis.
One of the primary differences between acute and chronic appendicitis is that the pain that comes with the latter is a dull ache. It’s also felt in the lower right part of the abdomen. In some cases, this is the only symptom that occurs. However, other patients may suffer other hallmark symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and fever.
Appendicitis Recovery Time: How Long Does It Take to Heal After an Appendectomy?
An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix, mainly due to appendicitis. The time it takes to recover from this procedure varies, depending on the type of surgery done, the anesthesia used and if any complications have developed. It also depends on whether or not the appendix has already burst before surgery.4
If your appendix is intact during surgery, chances are you will undergo a laparoscopic surgery. The recovery time for this will be relatively quick, and although you will be under observation for signs of infection, you will be allowed to leave one to two days after the procedure.5
A perforated appendix before surgery, however, is more crucial, as the infection needs to be treated. An open surgery will be done to stop the infection from spreading. The recovery time in the hospital can take four days or longer, especially if complications develop. A drain will be attached to your abdomen to remove the pus, and the hospital staff will change the gauze as necessary to keep the wound clean.6
Most appendectomy patients can resume their normal activities within a few days or so after the procedure; however, strenuous activities like high-intensity exercises are ill advised for two to four weeks.7