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When the appendix becomes inflammed (appendicitis), the infected appendix should be surgically removed (emergency appendectomy) before an opening develops within the appendix (perforation) and spreads the problem towards the entire abdominal space (peritonitis). The appendix is really a narrow, small, finger-shaped part of the large intestine that generally hangs down from the lower right side from the abdomen.
What's appendicitis and what causes it?
Appendicitis is a sudden inflammation from the appendix. Although the appendix does not seem to serve any purpose, it can become diseased and, if untreated, can burst, causing infection as well as death.
The reason for appendicitis is generally unknown. Appendicitis may occur following a viral infection within the digestive system or when the tube connecting the big intestine and appendix is blocked or trapped by stool. It is thought that blockage from the opening from the appendix into the bowel by a hard, small stool fragment causes inflammation and infection of the appendix (appendicitis). The inflammation can cause infection, a blood clot, or rupture from the appendix.
The infected appendix then must be surgically removed (emergency appendectomy) before a hole develops in the appendix and spreads the problem towards the entire abdominal space.
What are the the signs of appendicitis?
- Abdominal pain -- pain may begin in the upper-middle abdomen then develop to sharp localized pain
- Abdominal pain might be worse when walking or coughing
- Fever usually occurs within hrs
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal tenderness
- Chills and shaking