Soumita Biswas, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Aster RV Hospital
If you are wondering what is appendix? It is a small tube-like structure found at the end of a large intestine. Although this organ has no observable purpose it is susceptible to infection that restricts blood supply to it resulting in inflammation and appendix pain.
Bacterial and viral infection in the digestive tract induces swelling of the lymph nodes which in turn exerts pressure on the appendix and causes obstruction. The pressure may restrict blood supply to the organ leading to inflammation. An inflamed appendix meaning an appendix with blockages may require surgical removal.
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen especially around the belly button.
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in passing gas
- Persistent feeling of bloating
- Indigestion and nausea
- Abdominal swelling accompanied by low fever
Food to stick to during appendicitis
A healthy and balanced diet consisting of certain food and nutrients can help in controlling the symptoms by alleviating appendix pain, facilitating easy digestion, and boosting appetite.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk serves as a detoxifying agent and prevents bacterial growth in the appendix. It is advisable to prepare it organically at home.
- Vegetable juice: Vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and minerals that not only promote overall health but also play a significant role in alleviating symptoms of appendicitis. Freshly squeezed juices from cucumber, carrot, radish, beetroot, and coriander have been found to lower abdominal pain and discomfort.
- Ginger: A concoction of grounded ginger, honey and turmeric powder is known to have medicinal properties which if taken twice a day can help with inflammation, nausea, and bloating. Ginger is used in many Ayurvedic medicines because it has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
- Fenugreek seeds: Simply, add two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in one liter of water and boil it for half an hour. After cooling, drink this concoction twice daily to lower the pain from appendicitis. Fenugreek has medicinal properties which prevent the buildup of mucus and pus in the appendix.
- Mint: Mint leaves are infused with Vitamin A, fat soluble vitamin along with a wealth of antioxidants and cooling properties. It is recommended to boil mint leaves in water and consume it thrice a day to reduce irritable bowel syndrome and soothe abdominal pain. Mint leaves also help with other symptoms of appendicitis like nausea and bloating.
- High fiberdiet: Food items and recipes that are charged with fibre and low in fat are easy to digest. Fresh fruits, oats, boiled sprouts, and seeds can be cooked in minimum oil and spices. Recipes such as upma, dalia and khichdi are suitable for appendicitis patients because they can be easily digested and are fiber rich.
Certain foods should be avoided during appendicitis because they tend to aggravate the medical condition by inducing inflammation, pain, and discomfort.
- Fried food: Junk food and dishes that are cooked in too much oil and spices should be avoided to effectively manage appendicitis. Fried food is difficult to digest, which in turn can worsen the symptoms of appendicitis.
- Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol affects the overall gut health by promoting the growth of microbes in the gut and weakening the digestive system. Intake of alcohol can inflame the appendix causing unbearable abdominal pain.
- Fatty food: Fatty foods are a strict no-no in the diet of a patient with appendicitis. Fatty foods include meat, cheese, cooked eggs, chocolate, ice cream, cheese, whole milk, chocolate, ice cream, fried foods and dishes containing high butter and oil. These foods are difficult to digest and wear out the gut extensively, thereby worsening appendicitis symptoms.
- Sugar: Except for natural sugar extracted from fruits, all other kinds of sugar are detrimental for a patient suffering from appendicitis. Refined or synthetic sugar can trigger diarrhea and aggravate the symptoms. Sugar based foods like chocolate, ice cream, and sweets should be avoided as much as possible.