What is the Appendix?
- The appendix is a narrow, small, finger-shaped portion of the large intestine that generally hangs down from (within) the lower right side of the abdomen.
- If the appendix becomes infected (appendicitis), in most cases the infected appendix must be surgically removed (emergency appendectomy) before a hole develops in the appendix (perforation) and spreads the infection to the entire abdominal space (peritonitis).
- It may also progress to gangrenous with risk to life and thus the important to have an appendicitis seen to immediately.
What is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is a sudden inflammation of the appendix. Although the appendix does not seem to serve any purpose, it can become diseased and, if untreated, can rupture, causing infection and even death.
Signs & Symptoms
- Dull pain near the navel or the upper or lower abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen; this is usually the first sign, but it occurs in less than half of appendicitis cases.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins
- Abdominal swelling
- Temperature of 100 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Constipation or diarrhoea with gas
- Inability to pass gas
- Painful urination
How do you know if it’s something to worry about?
Call Your Doctor About Appendicitis if you have any of the symptoms listed above. Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that can be fatal. Prompt surgery is often essential. Do not eat, drink, or use any pain remedies, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads, which can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.
If you have symptoms of appendicitis, but your appendix has already been removed; you may have:
Pelvic inflammatory disease
A tubal pregnancy
Inflammation of your colon, called colitis or Crohn's disease, or Colorectal cancer.
*Seek medical care immediately.
After an appendectomy, call your doctor right away if you have:
Continued pain in your abdomen
Dizziness/feelings of faintness
Blood in your vomit, urine, or stool
*Untreated appendicitis can become a medical emergency.