I am a 20-year-old boy suffering from a pain on the right side of my lower abdomen for the last six months. Our family physician says itís appendicitis. Do I need further investigations to confirm the diagnosis'
Since your general practitioner thinks itís appendicitis you should get in touch with a surgeon and go for a few diagnostic tests. Total leukocyte count of blood and an abdominal sonography will not only help confirm the diagnosis, but also exclude other conditions that might mimic appendicitis and give rise to similar symptoms. If high-resolution sonography is available with special probes recurrent or acute appendicitis can be easily identified. If the problem is diagnosed it should be treated surgically. Nowadays laparoscopic appendicectomy (removal of the appendices through a key-hole surgery) is a very good option.
pain in abdomen
My wife (40) has been suffering from a pain on the right upper abdomen. It often goes to the right shoulder joint and then radiates towards the back. It is often associated with bouts of vomiting. She had childbirth aided by caesarian sections on two occasions in the past. The last one was five years ago. Is it a complication of the previous operation' Do I need to consult the gynaecologist who performed the previous caesarian section'
I donít think your wifeís symptoms has anything to do with the previous surgery which was performed on her lower abdomen. Most probably she has a gall bladder disease. First, she should go for a sonography on her abdomen to confirm it. If itís a gall bladder problem she should have a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder through key-hole surgery). However, if sonography doesnít show any gall bladder problem, an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy should be performed along with a treatment for gastric diseases involving the stomach and duodenum (upper intestine). I suggest you get in touch with a surgeon for a clinical examination.
bleeding with stool
I have occasional bouts of rectal bleeding while passing stool. The blood is scarlet in colour, and recently I noticed swollen skin tags near the anus. I have been advised to have lots of purgatives by my elders who believe I have piles. Please advise me the right course of action.
Your condition requires meticulous clinical examination. You should see a surgeon, because you seem to be suffering from a number of diseases such as piles, anal fissure, lower rectal polyp etc. Any one of these problems can cause the symptoms youíve mentioned. However, all these conditions are absolutely curable. They are amenable to either surgery or medicinal treatment to some extent. In an early stage piles often does not require any operation. A mere change in lifestyle pattern and a few medicines often work wonders. And piles in an advanced stage or rectal polyp can be surgically treated almost always with satisfactory results.
My father was admitted in a city hospital two months ago after he suffered an attack of acute pancreatitis. After a course of treatment he was discharged after two weeks. What is pancreatitis actually' Is it very harmful'
From your description the specific cause of your fatherís problem is not clear. Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ situated in the upper and posterior part of the abdominal cavity. Pancreatitis may occur due to various reasons, such as gall bladder disease, alcoholism, trauma and intake of certain drugs. According to the extent of damage it may be mild, moderate or severe. Since your father has now recovered from the acute attack, I think treatment should be directed towards eradication of the specific cause. If itís caused by gall bladder disease a surgical procedure called interval cholecystectomy can be done. If itís due to drug abuse or alcoholism the drug or alcohol must be stopped. Fat-free food and supplementation of pancreatic enzyme (through pills) also help a damaged pancreas to recover back to normal condition.
We invite readersí queries on health problems. Eminent doctors will respond to them in this column every week. Mail your letters to:
KnowHOW, The Telegraph, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700 001