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APPENDICITIS

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, 5-10cm long tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine. No one is absolutely certain what the function of the appendix is. One thing we do know is we can live without it.

Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. Left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to peritonitis, a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity's lining (the peritoneum) that can be fatal unless it is treated quickly with strong antibiotics.

Symptoms

Usually in young adults

  • Pain: Usually starts around navel and travels to right lower abdomen and is aggravated on coughing or moving
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fever: mild grade
  • Abdominal bloating

Causes

Due to obstruction of lumen of the tube by stool, foreign body or rarely cancer

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination by the doctor
  • Blood test: increased cell count
  • Urine test: to rule out urinary infection
  • X-ray, USG and sometimes CT scan

Complications

  • Ruptured appendix: Whole of the abdomen is inflamed(peritonitis) which is life threatening
  • Pocket of pus formation

Treatment

  • Prompt surgery to remove appendix within 1-2 days of pain
  • medicines alone are ineffective