Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a small finger-shaped organ that projects from the colon, on the right side of the body.
Causes of Appendicitis
The inflammation of the appendix is caused either by an obstruction or an infection. The inflammation causes bacteria within the appendix to multiply and the appendix to become swollen and filled with pus. Left untreated, the appendix may rupture.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
Symptoms of appendicitis may include:
- Pain that begins near the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen area
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Pain that becomes sharper over time
- Tenderness near the lower right abdomen
Diagnosis of Appendicitis
Diagnosis of appendicitis is difficult because the pain changes over time and the abdominal pain experienced may be as a result of other conditions. To assist in the diagnosis of appendicitis, the following tests and procedures may be performed:
- A physical exam
- Blood test
- X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan
Treatment of Appendicitis
Once the appendix becomes inflamed, it must be removed promptly through a surgical procedure known as an appendectomy. Since the appendix has no known function, removal does not cause any harm.
Surgery may be performed traditionally through a small incision in the abdomen, or laparoscopically, using three to four tiny incisions depending on your medical condition.