Appendix is a small finger-like organ at the end of the colon projecting outside. It is a 3 and half inches long tube of tissue. It is a boneless organ and can be inflamed when triggered and fills with pus. This is one of the vestigial organs of the body. The importance of the appendix has been lost overtime with evolution. The inflammation of the appendix is called appendicitis. Appendicitis is both acute and chronic infection. There are various reasons for appendicitis infection.
Causes for appendicitis:
Appendicitis is triggered by various reasons. Build up of hardened stool in people suffering from constipation are at higher risks of getting affected by appendicitis. Enlarged lymph nodes, internal injury, and trauma can cause appendicitis. Presence of foreign particles or intestinal worms can trigger the inflammation of the appendix.
Symptoms of the appendicitis:
Appendicitis starts suddenly and the appearance of symptoms also begins out of the blue. Common symptoms like pain in the lower right side of the belly or near the navel that moves lower gradually, loss of appetite, belly pain followed by nausea and vomiting, fever ranging from 99 to 102 degrees, and difficulty in passing gas. Sharp or dull pain on the upper and lower sides of the belly, difficulty in urination, severe cramps, constipation, and diarrhea with gas are some of the less common symptoms seen.
Diagnosis of appendicitis can be a tricky process. The symptoms are related to other problems like gallbladder problems, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, Crohns’ disease, gastritis, kidney stones, intestinal problems, and ovary trouble so it might be confusing to detect without proper examination and tests. Tests for determining appendicitis include looking at the abdomen for any swelling on the outside, urine examination for any urinary tract infections, Rectal examination, blood tests to determine any infections present in the body, CT scan, and ultrasound can help the doctor in determining appendicitis.
In most cases, after the diagnosis is done the doctor recommends a surgery as it is the safest way to avoid complications. Appendectomy is recommended for the operation. This involves a larger incision to the right side of the belly button and the appendicitis treatment is removed. This procedure is called open appendectomy. This involves greater risks as the incision is larger and the risks of getting an infection is higher. With the advancements, a laparoscopic appendectomy is now being popularly used to conduct appendectomy.
Laparoscopic appendectomy involves a small incision. General anesthesia is involved in this process. This procedure is performed through making a small incision below the belly button to the right side and a thin tube called port is inserted into the body. Once the port is inserted it fills the space with gas so it creates space for surgery. Then a camera is inserted through the incision to determine the infected appendix. The camera footage is shown on the screen and the whole procedure is visible. Once the camera starts showing the clear video of the area, more ports are inserted to send long narrow instruments. The inflamed appendix treatment is then gently removed through one of the incisions. Usually most of the surgeries require 3 incisions. The incisions number differs from 1 to 4 incisions. In some cases, a drain is inserted to remove the infected fluid from the appendix to avoid further build up of any infections. If the inflammation of the appendix is severe you may require a larger incision to remove the appendix. This laparoscopic appendectomy is benefited in many ways like the pain involved is comparatively lesser, the recovery time is also reduced, you need not spend long hours in the hospital, a smaller incision and scar post recovery, having normal bowel movements sooner, and less chances of getting infections. You may experience constipation for a short period of time after the surgery.
Appendicitis can be chronic if left untreated can be life threatening even if the appendix is a vestigial organ. The appendix when inflamed contains a lot of bacteria and other infectious organisms. When the appendix is inflamed it grows in size over time and tends to burst and cause life threatening infections.
When the appendix bursts, the lining of the abdomen called peritoneum is infected with bacteria leading to severe infection. It can cause severe damage to the internal organs. Symptoms of the peritonitis include persistent abdominal pain, feeling of sickness, raised temperature, shortness of breath, and swollen abdomen. Peritonitis should be treated at the right time, if not it can lead to long term illness and can turn fatal. Peritonitis is treated with antibiotics and also surgery will be required to remove the appendix.
When the appendix bursts due to appendicitis, around the burst appendix an abscess forms which is a painful collection of pus. In rare cases, abscesses is a complication of the appendix removal surgery. In most cases this can be treated with antibiotics, and in complicated cases a surgery is suggested with the involvement of anesthesia. The area is washed thoroughly and you will be given a course of medication.
In few surgery cases, a needle is inserted and a drain tube is inserted to clear out the abscesses and the pus from the area.
It is always advisable to visit a doctor when you experience sharp pain in the abdomen and a visible swelling. The treatment cannot be delayed due to its fatality and necessary examination is required as the symptoms of appendicitis can be a tricky one. Visit your nearby General Physician to get proper treatment for the illness. There is no escape from appendicitis, although reports show that people who eat high fiber content and consume fruits on a regular basis have chances to not get affected by appendicitis. Ensure to lead a healthy life and consume healthy foods to avoid any health complications.