The appendix is somewhat like a small pouch, approximately 3 inches long, that extends from the body’s large intestine. When the appendix becomes inflamed (swollen), it is called appendicitis. Swelling generally results from infection in the appendix, but it is uncertain what causes the infection. It is possible that the infection results when the appendix is blocked by matter such as feces. Appendicitis is often deemed a medical emergency, as major infection can occur when and if the appendix bursts.
The main symptoms of appendicitis are nausea, fever, loss of appetite and abdominal pain—especially near the navel. Additional symptoms can include constipation or diarrhea, cramping and pain while urinating. As inflammation increases, pain may extend to the lower abdomen on the right side of the body. Movement, including walking, can make the pain more severe. When the appendix ruptures, pain is usually diminished. However, the pain will return with added illness resulting from infection caused by the rupture. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and seek medical attention.
Due to the severity of illness that can result from a burst appendix, surgery is almost always performed to remove the appendix when appendicitis is suspected. Patients are typically unaffected by the removal of the appendix and can continue life as normal after a few weeks of recovering from the surgery. If the appendix bursts before it is removed, recovery is prolonged.
Gallstones can cause intense discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breastbone, which often radiates to the right upper back or right shoulder. Gallstones can also cause nausea or vomiting. They are precipitated by fatty meals.
- Gallstones (Cholelithiasis)
- Choledocholithiasis, Common Bile Duct stones
- Biliary stricture
- Biliary Dyskinesia
There are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood for developing gallstones. For example, women are more likely to develop gallstones than men, and Caucasians have a higher risk than many other races. Other factors include obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, high lipid levels and age (over 40 increases your risk).
Types of Gallstones
There are two types of gallstones that patients typically encounter: cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are compiled of at least 80 percent cholesterol and are often a yellow or green color. Pigment stones are generally dark and contain less than 20 percent cholesterol. These stones are made up of bilirubin and calcium salts—substances that are found within the body’s bile. In the United States, the majority of these stones are related to cholesterol. Not every gallstone has to be treated. It is important for you to speak with your healthcare provider to determine your condition and method of treatment.
There are non-surgical treatment options available. These methods include dissolution and fragmentation, also called lithotripsy. Dissolution allows patients to take a prescribed oral acid that breaks down the gallstones. It is a long-term treatment, lasting approximately 2 years. While not the most effective treatment, it is a good option for those patients with small stones and mild symptoms. It is also a good alternative for those who are unable to tolerate surgery. While not as common as other procedures, fragmentation is another method for treating gallstones. Treatment consists of bile acid therapy and is most effective when used on patients with mild symptoms and a single gallstone.
- Small and Large Bowel Obstruction
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Gastric Polyps
- Diverticular Disease
- Tumors and Malignancies
We offer hernia diagnosis, treatment and repair including.
- Inguinal and Femoral Hernia Repair
- Ventral Hernia Repair
- Laparoscopic Repair
Learn more about Hernia Treatments at our sister site HerniaCenterUtah.com.
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We treat disorders of the pancreas, including:
- Pancreatic Tumors
- Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis
- Pancreatic Pseudocyst