Appendicitis occurs when the appendix gets inflamed. Though the symptoms in adults of both genders are similar, this health-related condition is more common in men as compared to women. …
The appendix is a vestigial organ that is located in the abdominal region. This tiny organ, which is shaped like a finger, is also known by other names, such as the vermiform appendix and the cecal, because it is near the cecum of the large intestine. The exact appendix location is in the right side of the abdomen, attached at the junction of the small and large intestines. This organ has no specific function in the body. But at times due to infections, this vestige can get inflamed, leading to appendicitis. This medical condition is characterized by inflammation and swelling of the appendix and pain. The inflammation can be so severe that it can lead to a medical emergency.
What Causes It?
As we have seen before, the appendix is a small, finger-like appendage near the cecum of the large intestine. The exact cause is still unclear, but … certain doctors believe that bacterial infestation is one of the primary reasons.
❑ An obstruction in the lumen, due to unhealthy cell growth can also contribute to this health disorder. Since this appendage is very close to the cecum, some of the food waste and hardened feces tend to get trapped in this organ. These trapped substances make it easy for the bacteria to flourish, which results in inflammation, infection and formation of pus in the organ.
❑ Besides bacteria, virus, fungi, and other germs also flourish, destroying the tissue of the appendage and causing inflammation.
❑ Intestinal infection and the presence of intestinal worms are also known to cause an inflamed appendix.
❑ The formation of calcified deposits in the appendix (appendicoliths), trauma or injury to the abdominal region are some other causes of appendicitis in certain individuals.
Individuals who are between the age group of 20 to 30 years are at a higher risk of contracting appendicitis as compared to men above 30 years of age. The reason why only men of this age group are infected is still a mystery.
❑ The primary symptoms include pain and a feeling of tenderness in the lower abdominal region where the appendix is located. The pain can aggravate and even radiate to the back, if the intensity increases.
❑ Extreme pain in the right side of the hips, accompanied by muscle spasms is also a characteristic sign of an inflamed appendix.
❑ The individual may also have a feeling of fullness, even on an empty stomach, due to swelling of the appendage. This feeling can sometimes be accompanied by a dull pain in the abdomen.
❑ Navel pain is also another common sign. This pain radiates to other parts of the abdomen, and even to the back.
❑ A few individuals experience a nauseous feeling followed by vomiting, in some cases, prior to the pain, which is first experienced as a cramping.
❑ Some other typical symptoms include loss of appetite, constipation (or diarrhea), high-grade fever accompanied by chills, headaches and sweating.
❑ A few men may also experience atypical symptoms, like frequent urination and a burning sensation while urinating. The urine may sometimes contain traces of blood, a condition which is known as hematuria.
Before administering treatment, the physician may conduct certain diagnostic tests like physical exam, X-ray, MRI and CT scans of the abdomen, an ultrasound and a urine test to check for the causes and treatment to be administered accordingly.
The doctor may suggest appendix removal, depending on the symptoms exhibited, for complete relief and further prevention of recurrence of this health disorder. Surgery, which is also known as appendectomy, can be done in two ways: (1) Laparoscopically; and (2) Open Surgery.
Recovery after surgery may depend on the overall health of the individual and his response to the treatment provided post surgery. Being aware of the symptoms of appendicitis is essential to prevent any further complication, as this condition may also prove life-threatening.
Disclaimer: The article published herein, is meant for educational purposes only and does not intend to supplant the advice of a healthcare practitioner.