Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped tube that projects from your colon on the right lower part of your abdomen.
Appendicitis can cause pain in your right lower abdomen, and the pain also can begin around your belly button and then move. As inflammation worsens, the pain becomes worse
Anyone can have appendicitis, but it commonly occurs between the ages of 10 and 30.
Appendicitis is caused by a blockage inside the appendix that will lead to an infection. This blockage allows the bacteria to grow rapidly, causing the appendix to be inflamed, swollen and filled with pus. If it is not treated quickly, the swollen appendix can rupture causing the pus and bacteria to go free in your abdomen leading to more serious infections.
Signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include:
Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen or pain that begins around your belly button and moves to your right lower abdomen
You can have a pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make sudden movements
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Fever that can worsen
Constipation or diarrhea
Abdominal bloating or distension
The diagnosis of appendicitis is mainly a clinical diagnosis based on history and physical exam, however there are some tests that your doctor will order for further assessment.
Physical exam is usually done to assess the pain, the doctor may gently press on your belly around the painful areas to confirm the location and the diagnosis of appendicitis
Your doctor may also order blood tests to check for high blood cell count, which indicates bacterial infection
The doctor may also order urine tests and urinalysis to confirm that there are no urinary tract infections or kidney stones causing the pain
Your doctor may also recommend imaging studies such as X-ray, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other complications or pain sources
The treatment of appendicitis
is usually done through a surgery to remove the inflamed and swollen appendix. The doctor may also give you some doses of antibiotics to help with the infection.
Surgery: The surgery is called appendectomy, which means removal of the appendix and is usually done through a small incision (about 2-4 inches long) or it can also be done through as small incision using a scope, called laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is usually better because of the smaller incision, faster recovery time and a smaller scar. But your doctor eventually will decide which method fits you the best.
Sometimes the appendix can rupture before the surgery and cause the formation of an abscess around it, the abscess will need to be drained by placing a tube through your skin into the abscess to drain it first, then the appendectomy surgery can be done few weeks after the abscess and infection are controlled
Unfortunately, there is no effective way to predict or prevent appendicitis. However it was found to be less common in people who eat food high in fibers such as vegetables and fruits.