While surgery is often the 1st line of treatment for appendicitis, there is a great deal you can do to ease the associated symptoms naturally. To help relieve the swelling and pain, ayurveda advises to include probiotics, herbs like turmeric in your diet and intake of fenugreek decoction. Equally beneficial are alternative therapies like acupuncture and meditation.
Appendicitis can strike without much warning and leave you in excruciating pain. This swelling of the appendix is often spotted too late, requiring antibiotics and even surgical removal of this vestigial organ. However, you can use natural therapy to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the problem of an inflamed appendix.
Why Does Your Appendix Get Inflamed?
The jury is still out on what exactly causes appendicitis. The little finger-sized organ can sometimes get blocked when fecal matter or food gets stuck in it, causing inflammation and infection. The other reason you could develop appendicitis is if you have a swollen lymph node in the bowel walls as a result of an infection of the upper respiratory tract.1 It could also be the result of inflammatory bowel disease, a gastrointestinal tract infection, parasitic growths in the appendix, or abdominal trauma.
Can Appendicitis Be Treated Naturally?
Appendicitis is usually quite severe and, in most cases, immediate surgical intervention is called for. Because this is not a critical organ, removing this heavily inflamed and infected appendix is often the first line of treatment. As the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains, not treating it swiftly can cause fever, nausea, an abscess, and peritonitis due to infection from a burst appendix, which then spreads to your abdomen and can become life threatening.2
Natural therapy can be used mainly in a supportive capacity to ease associated symptoms rather than as a cure or treatment once appendicitis has already set in. While there is no solid clinical data to back certain diets or lifestyle changes to prevent appendicitis, you can prevent some of the possible causes like inflammatory bowel disease with natural remedies.
Symptoms Of Appendicitis
Here are some signs you could experience in a case of appendicitis.3
- Abdominal pain in the center of your stomach that appears and goes away by turn
- Pain that becomes more intense in a matter of hours and doesn’t go away
- Pain on the lower right side of your abdomen
- Pain that is aggravated by walking
- The abdominal area becomes sensitive to touch and is painful when pressed
- Coughing can make the area hurt more
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Constipation, and in some individuals, diarrhea
- Low-grade fever
- Problems with passing gas
- Swelling in the abdominal area
Your first step must be to seek medical help if you experience symptoms of appendicitis. Natural therapy can be used to help with healing or to ease pain and swelling after, but not in lieu of urgent medical care. That’s because some pain alleviation methods may cause an inflamed appendix to rupture, complicating things further.
Managing Pain With Alternative Therapy
Meditation can be a simple yet effective way to overcome the pain associated with appendicitis and the surgery thereafter. As one study of subjects undergoing abdominal surgery found, practicing meditation and jaw relaxation techniques helped significantly lower the subjective measures of pain as well as anxiety.4 However, it is worth noting that while subjective responses or the people’s perception of pain went down, the physiological responses were not significantly different as a result of the meditation. As such, meditation may have more of a psychological effect on easing pain than a physical one.
Acupuncture offers another avenue for postoperative pain management in the case of an appendectomy. It first made waves in the mainstream media in the West in the context of an appendectomy back in the 1970s. On President Nixon’s tour of China, a reporter suffering from gas pains linked to appendicitis found tremendous relief from acupuncture.5 Forty-five years on, today, one ongoing trial is looking specifically at the benefits of electroacupuncture in improving gastrointestinal motility recovery and in limiting the pain experienced in the aftermath of a laparoscopic surgery. With such alternatives gaining ground, you may no longer have to rely solely on pain killers that can be potentially addictive, to ease the pain after surgery.6
Ayurveda And Appendicitis
According to Ayurveda, appendicitis is a vrana-shotha or an inflammatory condition that causes swelling. Calcium and protein rich yogurt, which is also a probiotic, is considered a good food if you have appendicitis.7
One way to reduce the chances of developing blockages is to consume foods that help the body rid itself of toxins and which keep bowel movements regular. Consuming water in which fenugreek seeds have been boiled is one such Ayurvedic remedy. Fenugreek seeds have been found to help in the case of inflammatory bowel disease.8 The steroidal saponins in the seeds are believed to influence the body’s inflammatory response. They prevent waste accumulation and help the body get rid of excess mucus.9 Turmeric is another anti-inflammatory whose use in Ayurveda is renowned. The active constituent curcumin helps to boost the body’s immune response while also easing swelling from inflammation, and thereby easing pain. It is also indicated in the case of gastric trouble and may, therefore, be helpful in dealing with overall healing related to an inflamed appendix as well.10
While there is no consensus on a preventive diet for appendicitis, statistics seems to favor those who have a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables with plenty of fiber. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), consuming a diet low in dietary fiber and high in refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of developing appendicitis. Getting in large amounts of fiber can help lower fecal viscosity and increase the velocity of “stool transit time,” both of which can help reduce the chance of an obstruction developing in the appendix.11 Staying hydrated is also important, making water intake an important part of good gut health.
To improve overall immunity, consume foods rich in essential nutrients. If you are prone to respiratory infections, especially in months where seasonal variations in temperature can result in infections, it is a good idea to up your intake of vitamin C through lemons and other citrus fruit. Vitamin C has been found to help boost immunity and ward off colds and flu.12
References [ + ]
|1, 3.||↑||Appendicitis. NHS UK.|
|2.||↑||Definition and Facts for Appendicitis, NIDDK.|
|4.||↑||Soliman, Hanan, and Salwa Mohamed. “Effects of Zikr meditation and jaw relaxation on postoperative pain, anxiety and physiologic response of patients undergoing abdominal surgery.” Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare 3, no. 2 (2013): 23-38.|
|5.||↑||Ulett, George A., Jisheng Han, and Songping Han. “Traditional and evidence-based acupuncture.” J uth Med J 91, no. 12 (1998): 115.|
|6.||↑||Kim, Gangmi. “Electroacupuncture for postoperative pain and gastrointestinal motility after laparoscopic appendectomy (AcuLap): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.” Trials 16, no. 1 (2015): 1.|
|7.||↑||Chaturvedi, V.C. All You Wanted to Know about Diet and Health Through Ayurveda. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 2005.|
|8.||↑||Langmead, L., C. Dawson, C. Hawkins, N. Banna, S. Loo, and D. S. Rampton. “Antioxidant effects of herbal therapies used by patients with inflammatory bowel disease: an in vitro study.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 16, no. 2 (2002): 197-205.|
|9.||↑||Sauvaire, Yves, Y. Baissac, O. Leconte, P. Petit, and G. Ribes. “Steroid saponins from fenugreek and some of their biological properties.” In Saponins used in food and agriculture, pp. 37-46. Springer US, 1996.|
|10.||↑||Gupta, Subash C., Bokyung Sung, Ji Hye Kim, Sahdeo Prasad, Shiyou Li, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. “Multitargeting by turmeric, the golden spice: from kitchen to clinic.” Molecular nutrition & food research 57, no. 9 (2013): 1510-1528.|
|11.||↑||Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis in Children. AAFP.|
|12.||↑||Roxas, Mario, and Julie Jurenka. “Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations.” Alternative Medicine Review 12, no. 1 (2007): 25-49.|