Epiploic Appendagitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Epiploic Appendagitis

Epiploic appendagitis is quite an uncommon medical condition characterized by intense stomach and abdominal discomfort.

It has only recently gained greater recognition within the medical field due to its limited prevalence.

Owing to its relative obscurity, there is a tendency for misdiagnosis and confusion with other ailments that manifest as severe stomach pain.

Epiploic appendagitis remains a subject of limited research, and ongoing studies are in their initial phases.


What Causes Epiploic Appendagitis?

Small pouches of fat are located above the colon and large intestine, known as epiploic appendages.

Epiploic appendagitis occurs when these pouches experience a restriction or interruption in their blood supply.

This can be caused by inflammation of the surrounding tissue or if the pouches become twisted upon themselves.

Epiploic appendages are particularly sensitive structures, and when their blood flow is compromised, they become inflamed.

These appendages remain a subject of limited understanding in terms of their purpose, contributing to the mystery surrounding the condition. Researchers have not yet uncovered a definitive function for these epiploic appendages.

The inflammation in the affected area is responsible for the intense and painful sensations experienced in the abdomen. Remarkably, even without treatment, it often resolves on its own within a two-week period.

The exact reasons why some individuals develop this condition remain unclear.

Research has suggested that it is more prevalent in individuals over the age of 20 who are overweight, but further investigations are required before conclusive links can be established regarding its underlying causes.


Symptoms of Epiploic Appendagitis 

Abdominal discomfort is a hallmark symptom of epiploic appendagitis, typically concentrated on the right side of the abdomen. However, it’s possible to experience this pain on the left side as well. The pain is often intense and challenging to overlook.

In most instances, abdominal pain is the primary symptom, with other symptoms being infrequent but possibly including:

Also, it can lead to leukocytosis, which is the body’s response to inflammation, marked by an increase in white blood cells in the affected region.

This particular symptom is uncommon, and you might not be aware of it unless a blood test is conducted.


Diagnosis of Epiploic Appendagitis

The diagnosis of epiploic appendagitis usually arises when individuals seek medical attention due to severe abdominal pain.

In such cases, the doctor may order a CT scan to assess the condition, and during the review of these scans, they will examine its signs.

Key indicators include thickening of the mid-bowel wall and other visual cues. Although the effects of appendagitis can be discerned through a CT scan or ultrasound, these changes may be subtle.

As a result, there is a potential for misdiagnosis, emphasizing the importance of medical professionals, including radiologists, being well-informed about what to look for.

It’s important to note that only 1% of individuals with abdominal pain receive a diagnosis of appendagitis, making it an unlikely cause for most cases of abdominal pain.

The symptoms of appendagitis often mimic those of other conditions, such as:

Further, due to the similarities in symptoms, appendagitis is sometimes misdiagnosed as one of these conditions.

While some of these conditions may necessitate surgery, epiploic appendagitis typically does not.

Therefore, receiving an accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure appropriate treatment for the specific underlying issue.

It can be categorized into two main types: normal epiploic appendagitis and acute epiploic appendagitis.

  • Normal Epiploic Appendagitis: In this form, the inflammation primarily affects the tissue surrounding the fat-filled pouches near the colon.
  • Acute Epiploic Appendagitis: Acute condition occurs when the fat-filled pouches themselves become twisted or experience a restriction in their blood flow.


Treatment for Epiploic Appendagitis

The treatment for both normal and acute epiploic appendagitis is generally non-invasive.

Your healthcare provider is likely to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, and most patients will experience relief from their symptoms within one to two weeks.

It’s possible that symptoms may also resolve without the need for medication.

If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, it is crucial to consult your doctor promptly.

Since the symptoms of epiploic appendagitis resemble those of other medical conditions, a timely and accurate diagnosis is essential.

These other conditions are treatable, but it’s important to seek medical attention to prevent potential complications.

If you have severe abdominal pain, talk to your doctor right away.

If it isn’t appendagitis, it could be one of the conditions with symptoms that are similar.

These conditions are treatable, but they need to be cared for to avoid serious problems.


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