Appendicitis involves inflammation of the appendix. It is a 3 ½ inch tube made out of tissue that extends from the large intestine. The exact function of the appendix is still not determined. Remember though that an individual can function even if it is absent, without any consequences.
Appendicitis is considered as a medical emergency that entails immediate surgery to remove the appendix. If not treated, the inflamed appendix will soon rupture or perforate, thus allowing the leakage of infectious materials into the abdominal cavity. This can result to peritonitis which is a critical inflammation of the peritoneum that can be dangerous unless treated with potent antibiotics.
In some instances, an abscess filled with pus develops outside the swollen appendix. The scar tissue separates the appendix from the rest of the abdomen, thus preventing the spread of infection. Even though a less urgent scenario, it could not be identified without surgery. Due to this, all cases of appendicitis are treated as emergencies that necessitates surgery.
What are the possible causes?
Appendicitis develops once the appendix becomes clogged, often by stool, foreign object or even cancer. The ensuing blockage can also occur due to an infection since the appendix becomes swollen as a response to any type of infection in the body.
Indications of appendicitis
The characteristic indications of appendicitis include the following:
- Dull pain close to the navel that becomes piercing as it travels to the lower right abdomen. Remember that this is generally the initial sign.
- Abdominal swelling
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and/or vomiting occurs after abdominal pain starts
- Fever of high body temperature of 99-102 degrees F
- Inability to pass out gas
In almost half of cases, other symptoms of appendicitis can manifest which includes the following:
- Pain during urination
- Dull or piercing pain on any part in the upper or lower abdomen, back or rectum
- Vomiting that occurs before the abdominal pain starts
- Intense cramping
- Constipation with gas
If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to seek medical care right away since prompt diagnosis and treatment is vital. The individual should avoid drinking or eating as well as use any pain medications, laxatives, antacids or heating pads since these can cause an already inflamed appendix to rupture.