Appendicitis

What is appendicitis?

A painful swelling and infection of the appendix is called appendicitis.


What is appendix?

A fingerlike pouch attached to the large intestine and located in the lower right area of the abdomen is an appendix. The hollow space inside the appendix is called the appendiceal lumen via which the mucus created by the appendix travels and empties into the large intestine.
What causes appendicitis?

An obstruction of the appendiceal lumen causes appendicitis. This causes the mucus to back up in the appendiceal lumen which causes the bacteria that normally live inside the appendix to multiply. This makes the appendix to swell and become infected. Sources of obstruction are as follows:

1. feces, parasites, or any growth inside the lumen clogs the appendiceal lumen

2. enlarged lymph tissue in the wall of the appendix

3. inflammatory bowel disease

4. trauma to the abdomen

An inflammation in the appendix may cause the appendix to burst if not removed. Bursting spreads infection from the appendix throughout the abdomen which may lead to a potentially dangerous condition called peritonitis.


Who gets appendicitis?

Appendicitis is more common among people between 10 and 30 years of age.


Symptoms of appendicitis

Abdominal pain is the main symptom of appendicitis.

The abdominal pain usually

• occurs before any other symptoms

• occurs suddenly often at night and disturbs him from sleep

• begins near the belly and then moves lower and to the right

• is very new and unlike any pain felt before

• gets worse within a few hours

• gets worse when the person moves around, takes deep breaths, coughing, or sneezing


Other symptoms of appendicitis may include

• abdominal swelling

• loss of appetite

• nausea

• vomiting

• constipation or diarrhea

• inability to pass gas

• fever

• the feeling while passing a stool will relieve discomfort


Diagnosis of appendicitis

1. Medical History

2. Physical Examination

3. Laboratory Tests

4. Imaging Tests


Treatment of appendicitis

Surgery

Appendicitis is treated by removing the appendix because the infedted appendix may burst and causes the infection to spread throughout the abdomen. Surgery to remove the appendix is called appendectomy.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment is done to people who are unfit for surgery. This includes treatment with antibiotics to treat infection and a liquid or soft diet until the infection subsides. A soft diet is a diet which is low in fiber and easily breaks down in the gastrointestinal tract.


Recovery

Most people recover from appendicitis when adequate care is given and do not need to make changes to diet, exercise, or lifestyle. Full recovery from the condition takes about 4 to 6 weeks. Limiting physical activity during this time allows one to recover soon and the tissues to heal.

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