All You Need to Know About Appendicitis


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Appendicitis is an inflammatory disease of the appendix. The “vermiform appendix” named by anatomists is a part of the colon, being attached to the cecum. It measures 4-5 centimeters in length and looks like an empty tube. It is considered to be a part of the immune system because it contains lymphatic tissue in its structure besides the muscle layer which is contained in the entire colon.

The inflammation of the appendix is considered to appear if the appendix’s entrance in the cecum gets blocked by hardened mucus or stool. In other situations the lymphatic tissue of the appendix can swell and block the entrance too. The bacterium that is normally found in the appendix will develop and will take over the wall of the appendix. The body will try to stop the bacteria and will create an inflammation as a response to the bacterium’s action.

Sometimes the inflammation and bacterial infection can lead to a rupture of the wall of the appendix and so, the infection will spread in the nearby area, creating a peri-appendiceal abscess.

In some cases, especially in elder people who take antibiotic drugs, a healing of the appendicitis can be produced and a scar will appear in that area. Those people will go to the doctor’s office after some time had passed since the appendicitis episode, accusing the presence of a lump in the right lower abdomen.

Complications can occur if appendicitis is left untreated. The perforation of the wall is one of them, leading to a peri-appendiceal abscess and even peritonitis which is dangerous because the entire lower abdomen will get infected. Perforation can occur in 15% of the cases after the first 36 hours of present symptoms. Therefore surgery must be done as soon as possible.

Another complication is the blockage of the intestine caused by the intense inflammation which stops the intestinal muscle from working and so the intestinal contents will not move anymore. Nausea and vomiting can occur if the intestine situated above the blockage gets filled with air and liquids. A removal of this content will be done with a tube passed through nose or mouth, then stomach, until it reaches the intestine.

A more rare complication of appendicitis is sepsis. This happens when the bacterium gets into the blood stream and is free to go to other body parts. This is a serious condition and can cause even death, but luckily for us it is quite rare nowadays.

To avoid these unpleasant situations do not delay seeing a doctor if you think you have appendicitis.

For more resources on appendicitis or especially about signs of appendicitis please click this link


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