Appendicitis is the swelling or inflammation of the appendix. Appendix is a small organ located at the site where the large intestine meets the small intestine. The exact function of the appendix is unknown. If left untreated, appendicitis can lead to complications such as a ruptured appendix that can spread infection throughout your abdomen.
A blockage in the whole or part of the appendix causes appendicitis. The possible reasons for this blockage are:
- Traumatic injury
- Presence of any foreign body
- Build up of human excreta or stool
The most important and common symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain.
Typically, the symptoms include:
- Sudden pain on the lower right part of the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Fever that worsens as the condition progresses
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Severe cramps
- Pain or difficulty while urinating
- Buildup of gas (flatulence)
- Abdominal bloating
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Imaging procedures such as CT, MRI or ultrasound scan
- Urine tests
- Blood tests
Though there are no precise preventive measures for appendicitis, studies show that a high fiber diet reduces the chances of developing the condition.
The appendicitis is usually treated as an emergency. It is highly recommended to remove the inflamed appendix before it ruptures and causes infection.
- Surgery is often done to remove the swollen appendix, termed as appendectomy. This is done either through a keyhole surgery or open surgery.
- Laparoscopic appendectomy or keyhole surgery is a precise procedure which uses small incision and involves minimal loss of blood.
- Open surgery is used usually when the affected appendix has ruptured. It uses larger incisions and is done to clean the abdominal cavity.
- Abscess draining: if the appendix has ruptured it may be drained by using a tube.
- Antibiotics may be used if the infection is mild, but this is rarely used. Antibiotics are also given before and/or after the surgical procedure.
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