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What is Appendicitis?


Appendicitis refers to inappropriate activity of the vermiform appendix, a worm-shaped extension of the colon. Appendicitis is a very serious illness and can be life-threatening if it is not treated in time. Appendicitis affects about 6 - 7 percent of the population in the United States and Europe.

What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis refers to inappropriate activity of the vermiform appendix, a worm-shaped extension of the colon.

There are 2 basic types of Appendicitis, acute and chronic.

Symptoms of appendicitis are intense and painful, continuous abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea and fever.

The pain usually begins in the lower region of the abdomen and later shifts to the lower right side. Generally the pain will intensify with physical effort.

Anyone can develop appendicitis, regardless of age and sex but the illness has a higher incidence in males. Children between 3 - 15 for some reason are also at risk of developing acute appendicitis. Elderly people and patients with medical problems usually develop atypical acute appendicitis.

Appendicitis is a serious illness and can be life-threatening if it is not treated in time. Appendicitis affects about 6 - 7 percent of the population in the United States and Europe. People with symptoms of appendicitis should not take laxatives or enemas to relieve constipation because these medicines could cause the appendix to burst.

Is the Appendix on the right or the left side?

The Appendix is located in the right lower region of the abdomen.

Picture showing the location of the Appendix. What is Chronic Appendicitis?

Chronic appendicitis usually refers to a milder form of the illness and almost unperceivable symptoms this may include inflammation of the vermiform appendix with recurring attacks of right-sided abdominal pain over an extended period of time.

Chronic appendicitis is quite rare, develops slower, has less pronounced symptoms and it is much more difficult to diagnose. Some people with chronic appendicitis may only experience a generalized state of fatigue and illness.Treatment doesn't necessarily involve surgery, as in the case of acute appendicitis. If it is discovered in time, chronic appendicitis can often be cured with antibiotics. However, chronic appendicitis has a recidivating character and therefore ongoing treatment is required.

Symptoms of chronic appendicitis may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Chronic appendicitis.

What is Acute Appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis is considered to be the most common cause of abdominal pain and distress in children and teenagers worldwide. Acute appendicitis develops very fast and is much simpler to detect, in most cases it requires immediate surgery.

Acute appendicitis refers to complete obstruction of the vermiform appendix. Bacterial infections are also a cause of acute appendicitis. The appendix is a tubular extension of the large intestine and its function is thought to be related with the process of digestion. When the appendix is blocked by calculus and faeces or it is squeezed by the lymph nodes (due to bacterial infection, the lymph nodes usually become swollen and press against the appendix), it swells and usually doesn't receive enough blood. Bacteria grow inside the appendix, eventually causing its death. In acute appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix is serious and can lead to complications (perforation, gangrene, sepsis). Acute appendicitis is a surgical emergency and most patients with this form of illness already have complications before entering the operation room.

What are the symptoms of Acute Appendicitis?

The most common symptoms of acute appendicitis are intense, continuous abdominal pain that usually increases during when breathing, coughing or sneezing. Poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea and fever are other symptoms you may be suffering from Appendicitis. If all symptoms occur together it is a good indication of the presence of Appendicitis. In atypical forms of acute appendicitis, the patients may have only one symptom or they may not have any symptoms at all. This complicates the process of correctly diagnosing acute appendicitis and the only effective means of discovering the illness are abdominal computerized tomography, blood analysis and detailed physical examination.

How long does it take to recover from an appendectomy?

The obstruction of the appendix can only be corrected through surgery by surgically removing the diseased appendix. This surgical procedure is called appendectomy.

Acute appendicitis requires immediate treatment. If acute appendicitis is treated in time, the patients recover quickly and effortless. Most patients are fully recovered within 4 weeks from surgery. However, in the case of complicated acute appendicitis, the patients require special monitoring before and long after the surgical treatment. Complicated acute appendicitis is life-threatening and the rate of mortality in patients with this form of illness is considerably high. The function of the appendix is not unknown, however its absence doesn't cause any changes inside the human body. People can live a normal life without their appendix, changes in diet, exercise, or other lifestyle factors are not necessary.

What are the Signs of Appendicitis?

The signs of appendicitis in the chronic form are not always easily detectable. People with chronic appendicitis usually feel a general state of internal discomfort, fatigue and lack of energy. Other signs of appendicitis are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal bloating, bad breath, fatigue and moderate fever. In the acute form, the signs of appendicitis are easier to detect, but they usually occur after the development of complications. The signs of appendicitis are usually more difficult to detect in elderly people, people with special conditions and very young children.

Although these signs of appendicitis are common in people with acute forms of the illness, they don't always occur in people with chronic appendicitis. There are also people with acute forms of illness that don't have any signs of appendicitis at all. This special category of people includes people with diabetes, people with HIV, people that have previously suffered surgical interventions, for example organ transplants, and obese people.

Preventing Appendicitis:

It is thought that a diet rich in fibers may reduce the chances of developing appendicitis.

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