Grumbling appendicitis, more commonly referred to as chronic appendicitis, is characterized by mild pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen and is the result of inflammation of the appendix, a small extension of the colon. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection and is rarer than the more severe form of appendicitis, referred to as acute appendicitis. Grumbling appendicitis usually lasts for three or more weeks before it gets painful enough to see a doctor.
The appendix is attached to the cecum, which is the first section of the large intestine, also referred to as the colon. It is found at the junction of the small intestine and colon and is prone to problems, such as infection, in some people. No one is sure why it is there, but it is believed to have served a purpose at one time in human history and was rendered meaningless by evolution.
Unlike acute appendicitis, which occurs rapidly and with a lot of pain, grumbling appendicitis starts off as mild pain and builds up over a period of weeks. The pain usually begins in the area of the umbilicus and gradually moves to the area between the top of the pelvic bone and the navel. Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, pain on exertion of the abdomen, digestion issues, and nausea. Vomiting will occasionally occur in the later stages.
Diagnosis for grumbling appendicitis usually begins by pressing the area between the navel and pelvic bone to test for pain. If pain is felt when the hand is removed, it is a good sign grumbling appendicitis is present. The next step is usually an abdominal computer tomography (CT) scan to detect for abnormalities in the appendix.
If the diagnosis is determined to be grumbling appendicitis, treatment usually consists of a round of antibiotics to kill any infection. This may last for several weeks and be a very high dosage so as to prevent the onset of acute appendicitis. If this doesn’t work, surgery may be performed to remove the appendix.
Although grumbling appendicitis has a slow onset, it can turn into acute appendicitis. If symptoms such as severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and a high fever occur, it is considered an emergency because the appendix may burst. Surgery will need to done to immediately remove the appendix because if it bursts, it can infect the abdominal cavity and quickly lead to death.