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Article Type: Blog

Why Appendicitis Can't Wait — Even When You're Kelly Clarkson

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After hosting the three-hour Billboard Music Awards on Thursday evening, Kelly Clarkson went into surgery to have her appendix removed the next morning.  Reports say she had been experiencing pain all week, and the condition brought her to tears after her onstage performance.

"Not gonna lie.... I may or may not have broken down in tears after the show from pain," Clarkson tweeted about the experience.

Appendicitis is a serious medical condition that can become deadly if it's left untreated.  Despite her remarkable performance, it's in your best interest to never try to work through the pain like Kelly.  Instead, call 9-1-1 and head to your nearest AdventHealth emergency room to be diagnosed and treated right away to prevent complications.

Diagnosing Appendicitis

Since symptoms like stomach pain, indigestion, constipation, and vomiting can be caused by a number of conditions, you may not think about appendicitis right away. If over-the-counter heartburn or gas medication doesn’t ease your symptoms, or if you have an acute pain behind your belly button or in your lower right abdomen, it's time to seek help.

Catching appendicitis before the organ bursts is important and can save your life. Only a medical professional can assess you quickly, efficiently, and effectively and get you the help you need.

Because appendicitis is tricky to pin down, it's important to have access to the comprehensive tests you need to get an accurate diagnosis, including:

  • Abdominal ultrasound to view your appendix
  • Blood tests to check for high white blood cell counts (a sign of infection)
  • CT Scan to get an in-depth look at your abdomen
  • Lower Gastrointestinal Series (Barium Enema) to see your small intestine through x-ray images
  • Urine tests can rule out urinary tract infections

Types of Appendicitis 

You try to be proactive about your digestive health by eating healthy, exercising, and taking daily vitamins. But no matter how healthy you are, appendicitis is an unpredictable and unpreventable condition. That’s why it’s important to understand your symptoms. Noticing a pain in your right side or behind your belly button, a dull fever, or constipation can help us diagnose your condition. There are a few different types of appendicitis, including:

  • Acute appendicitis shows sudden, more serious symptoms that occur over the course of 24 to 48 hours and requires quick treatment.
  • Chronic appendicitis causes mild symptoms that last longer and could lead to acute appendicitis.
  • Gangrenous appendicitis is an inflamed appendix with dead tissue.
  • Stump appendicitis is rare, occurring in any remaining appendix tissue after a previous appendectomy.

Appendix Removal

When your appendix is infected and inflamed, there's no time to waste — you'll need appendicitis treatment immediately.

Sometimes antibiotics can be used to fight off an infection of the appendix. But more commonly, you’ll need surgery.

Appendectomies, or removals of the appendix, are among the most-common emergency surgical procedures. Within our system of care, our surgeons are capable of doing both open and laparoscopic appendectomies. Although having an organ removed can be concerning, know that with experienced surgeons the procedure is relatively simple and will help to ease your pain so you can resume your everyday life.

An open appendectomy is the traditional procedure, where the surgeon removes the organ through a three-inch incision in your abdomen. With newer, more-innovative technology available, you may also be able to have the surgery with a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) procedure. You'll leave the hospital with only three small scars and enjoy a faster recovery time. In many cases, you will likely be able to go home the same day as your laparoscopic procedure, like Kelly Clarkson.  According to reports, she'll be back to work filming the live episode of The Voice on Monday evening.

Find out more about how our experts deliver our whole-person care approach to appendicitis at AdventHealth.

 

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