Appendicitis refers to the chronic or acute inflammation of the appendix, the small pouch that is present in the lower right side of the large intestine.
Inflammation of the appendix causes pain, which often starts from the navel and proceeds to the lower part of the abdomen. Pain increases with the inflammation and becomes very severe and unbearable.
It is most commonly seen in the age group of 10-30 years. Further, it more common among men when compared to women. Complications of appendicitis can be fatal.
If left untreated, appendix may rupture releasing the bacteria to the outer side. This may result in spread of infection throughout the abdomen. Surgical removal of the infected pouch is the conventional treatment method.
Most common symptoms of appendicitis are:
A sudden shooting pain that is diffused initially and localizes gradually on to the right side of the lower abdomen
Pain in the abdomen that worsens with activity like walking or even coughing
The actual cause of Appendicitis is not known. Obstruction of the appendix that cause infection is implied in the development of inflammation in the appendix.
Obstruction may result from buildup of fecal matter in the pouch. It may also be caused by enlarged lymphoid tissues, worms, trauma, and tumors. The bacteria in the appendix multiply and leads to the formation of pus within the tissue.
Rupture of abdomen is a medical emergency. It leads to the inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal wall. It may lead to inflammation of other organs, including cecum, bladder, and colon.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Review of signs and symptoms is the best diagnostic measure for appendicitis. Physical examination is suggested to assess the severity of pain in the lower abdominal area.
Applying gentle pressure in the area worsens the pain. Stiffening of abdominal muscles in response to pressure applied during examination indicate inflammation of appendix.
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