Appendicitis: sympthoms and causes

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix that causes pain on the lower right side of your abdomen. There are no definite causes. However, typically occur when there is a blockage to the entrance of the appendix. Appendicitis is a… Click To Tweet

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that projects from your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. Appendicitis is a medical emergency, so seek immediate health care if you’re experiencing these symptoms. 

Symptoms of appendicitis

If you are wondering how you know if you have appendicitis, take a look at some of these signs so you can do something about it as soon as possible. 

  • Pain typically starts near the belly button that travels to the lower right side of the abdomen within hours; it may get worse when sleeping, moving or coughing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Swelling in your abdomen.
  • Fever and a flushed face.

Bowel issues can be connected when this occurs, with symptoms including:

  • Inability to pass gas.
  • Constipation or diarrhoea.
  • The feeling that having a bowel movement will relieve discomfort.

It’s important to mention that appendicitis may be easily confused with other medical conditions, such as:

Appendicitis: sympthoms and causes

What causes appendicitis?

Although it’s not explicitly clear what causes appendicitis, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) states that many cases are due to a blockage of the entrance of the appendix. Many things may block the appendix, including:

  • The buildup of hardened stool
  • Enlarged lymphoid follicles
  • Intestinal worms
  • Traumatic injury
  • Tumours.

The blockage of the appendix leads to an infection. The bacteria multiply rapidly, causing the appendix to become inflamed and filled with pus. If not treated promptly, the appendix can rupture. 

Appendicitis can occur at any age and any gender. People with a family history of appendicitis are at heightened risk of developing it.

How is appendicitis treated?

If you have appendicitis, your appendix will usually need to be removed as soon as possible. This operation is known as an appendicectomy or appendectomy, which can be characterised as a minor surgery under general anaesthetic using either a keyhole or open surgery to remove appendicitis. 

Surgery is often also recommended if there’s a chance you have appendicitis, but it’s not been possible to make a clear diagnosis. The posing risk of untreated appendicitis is a stronger health concern than the medical procedure to remove the appendicitics.


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