Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a small pouch attached to your large intestine.
Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of emergency abdominal surgery in the United States. Appendicitis usually occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by feces, a foreign object, or rarely, a tumor.
Sign & Symptoms :
The symptoms of appendicitis vary. It can be hard to diagnosis appendicitis in young children, the elderly, and women of childbearing age.
Typically, the first symptom is pain around your navel. (See: abdominal pain.) The pain initially may be vague, but becomes increasingly sharp and severe. You may have reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever.
As the inflammation in the appendix increases, the pain tends to move into your right lower abdomen and focuses directly above the appendix at a place called McBurney`s point.
If the appendix ruptures, the pain may lessen briefly and you may feel better. However, once peritonitis sets in, the pain worsens and you become sicker.
Abdominal pain may be worse when walking or coughing. You may prefer to lie still because sudden movement causes pain.
Later symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Chills and shaking
With appendicitis, pain increases when the abdomen is gently pressed and then the pressure is suddenly released. If peritonitis is present, touching the abdomen may cause a spasm of the abdominal muscles. A rectal examination may identify abdominal or pelvic pain on the right side of your body.
Doctors can usually diagnose appendicitis by your description of the symptoms, the physical exam, and laboratory tests alone. In some cases, additional tests may be needed.
For uncomplicated cases, a surgical procedure called an appendectomy is performed to remove the appendix soon after the diagnosis. An appendectomy can be done as an ""open"" procedure, where fairly large surgical cuts are made in your abdomen. The surgery can also be done as a laparoscopic procedure, which uses a camera and small incisions.