What is Appendicitis? By Joseph Bennington-Castro
Appendicitis can be a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care.
Appendicitis is a very painful medical conditions in which the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus, a fluid made up of dead cells that often results from an infection. The appendix is a small finger-shaped pouch attached to your large intestine on the lower right side of your abdomen. It’s not entirely clear what role the appendix play in the body, but some research suggests that it isn’t the useless organ it was once thought to be. Though people can live perfectly normal lives without their appendix, inflammation of this abdominal organ can be a serious, life-threatening condition.
If not treated promptly, appendicitis may cause the appendix to burst, spreading an infection throughout the abdomen.
When people discuss appendicitis, they’re typically referring to acute appendicitis, which is marked by a sharp abdominal pain that quickly spreads and worsens over a matter of hours.
In some cases, however, people may develop chronic appendicitis, which cause mild, recurrent abdominal pain that often subsides on its own- these patients usually don’t realize they have appendicitis until an acute episode strikes.
Causes of Appendicitis
It’s not always clear what causes appendicitis, but the condition often arises from one of two issues: A gastrointestinal infection that has spread to the appendix, or an obstruction that has blocked the opening of the appendix. In the second case, there are several different sources of blockage. These include:
- Lymph tissue in the wall of the appendix that has become enlarged
- Hardened stool, parasites or growths
- Irritation and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract
- Abdominal injury or trauma
- Foreign objects such as pins or bullets
When a person’s appendix becomes infected or obstructed, bacteria inside the organ multiply rapidly. This bacterial takeover causes the appendix to become infected and swollen with pus.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
At the onset of appendicitis, people often feel an arching pain that begins around the belly button, and slowly creeps over to the lower right abdomen. The pain sharpens over several hours, and can spike during movement, deep breaths, coughing and sneezing. Other symptoms of appendicitis may follow, including:
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Inability to pass gas
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal swelling
- Diagnosing Appendicitis
Treating of Appendicitis
In rare cases, doctors will treat appendicitis with antibiotics, but the infection needs to be very mild.
Most often, appendicitis is considered a medical emergency and doctor treat the condition with an appendectomy, the surgical removal of the appendix. Surgeons will remove the appendix using one of two methods: open or laparoscopic surgery. An open appendectomy requires a single incision in the appendix region (the lower right area of the abdomen). During laparoscopic surgery, on the other hand, surgeons feeds special surgical tools into several smaller incisions- this option is believed to have fewer complications and a shorter recovery time, it may burst and spread the infection throughout the abdomen, leading to a life-threatening condition called peritonitis, an infection of the peritoneum (the lining of the gut). In other cases, abscesses may form on the burst appendix. In both cases, surgeons will usually drain the abdomen or abscess of pus and treat the infection with antibiotics before removing the appendix.
Courtesy: http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/ what is Appendicitis? By Joseph Bennington-Castro