Appendicitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Inflammation of the appendix is called appendicitis. Appendicitis can strike at any age between 15 to 30 years. In children under age 2 it is very rare. Appendix is a tube of tissue, measuring 3 1/2 inches in length. This tube extends from the large intestine. When the appendix gets inflamed, it is called appendicitis. Antibodies are produced by the specialized tissue contained in the appendix. Exact functioning of the appendix is yet to be determined. One thing that is certain is that, without any apparent consequences, it is possible to live without an appendix.

At times the stools can block the appendix. Sometimes cancer or a foreign body could block the appendix causing infection and blockage. The appendix swells leading to appendicitis. If the case is not complicated then antibiotics are used to successfully treat an inflamed appendix in most patients. In such a case no surgery is needed.

Appendicitis is an emergency of the appendix. The appendix has to be removed with prompt surgery. If it perforates or bursts, infectious materials are spilled out in the abdominal cavity. Lining of the abdominal cavity gets inflamed leading to peritonitis. Unless strong antibiotics are used to treat it, it can prove to be fatal.

Abscessed appendix is treated an emergency that requires surgery. An infection in the form of a pus filled abscess forms outside the inflamed appendix. This infection is walled off from the remaining part of the body. Spread of infection is prevented due to the scar tissue that walls off the appendix. The situation is less urgent in the case of abscessed appendix. The unfortunate thing is that, without surgery it is difficult to identify an abscessed appendix.

Symptoms of appendicitis include dull pain in the upper abdomen or near the navel which becomes sharper as it moves to the lower abdomen. Besides this the person suffers from appetite loss, fever, vomiting, nausea, painful urination, diarrhoea, constipation and inability to pass gas. Diagnosis process includes abdominal examination, rectal examination, urine test, blood test, ultra sound and CT scans.

Appendectomy is a surgery used to remove the appendix.  Before the surgery, antibiotics are given.  There is no way to prevent the disease. However in people who consume fresh vegetables, fruits and high fiber diet, the chances of getting appendicitis is less.

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