What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs in the appendix, which is located beneath the large intestine. It is caused by the inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a tubular pouch which has an opening to the large intestine. Appendicitis can occur at any age, although it is more common among those between 10-30 years old. An infected appendix can only be removed through surgery however, a body will still function normally even without the appendix.

What Causes Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is caused when an obstruction blocks the opening to the large intestine. Usually, this blockage would be a result of hard rock-like stool nevertheless there are other obstructions such as:

Disease causing agents – For example, Inflammatory bowel disease, injury to the abdomen, an infection that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract or other parts of the body.

Once the appendix is blocked, it will start to swell and large amounts of mucus will be formed. Due to the production of mucus, pressure will increase inside the cavity of the intestine, as well as the walls of the intestine. After this stage, the bacteria in the intestine will start to diffuse out of the dying appendix walls and the production of pus will start to form inside and around the appendix. This last stage is known as a burst appendix or ruptured appendix. A burst appendix is dangerous because the bacterium spreads throughout the abdomen. This condition is known as peritonitis. A person who believes they have appendicitis should seek medical help as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Stage One: Pain will first occur in the center of the abdomen area, which is also accompanied by a loss of appetite. This pain will later move down to the lower right side of the abdomen, where the appendix is located.

Stage Two: The symptoms that follow after abdominal pain are: a slight fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Stage Three: In stage three, the pain that first appeared will worsen. At this stage it is important that a doctor is contacted for a diagnosis. It takes 48-72 hours for the appendix to burst from when appendicitis symptoms first appeared and once the appendix rupture, bacteria will diffuse from the appendix to spread to other areas of the abdomen.

Diagnosis of Appendicitis

A doctor will usually perform a physical examination and take a look at the patient’s past medical history. If the patient shows the usual signs of appendicitis, the doctor will immediately start an appendix removal. When a doctor takes a look into the patient’s past medical history, he/she will ask many questions to try to eliminate the possibility of the symptoms belonging to another infection. These questions could be anywhere from where exactly is the pain felt to when the symptoms first appeared.