Appendicitis is an inflammation in the appendix. Appendicitis causes pain in the lower right abdomen. The appendix is a small, thin, 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) long pouch. It is connected to the large intestine, where the stools are formed. In most people, however, the pain begins around the navel and then moves. As the inflammation worsens, the pain of appendicitis usually increases and eventually becomes severe.
Although anyone may develop appendicitis, it most often occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30. Normal treatment is the surgical removal of the appendix.
Many people with appendicitis have classic symptoms that can be easily identified by a physician. Abdominal pain is the main symptom of appendicitis.
- Appetite loss
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to pass gas
- A low-grade fever that follows other symptoms
- Abdominal swelling
- Feeling that passing stool will relieve discomfort
A blockage in the lining of the appendix that causes infection is a likely cause of appendicitis. The bacteria multiply rapidly, causing the appendix to become swollen, inflamed, and pus-filled. If not treated promptly, the appendix may be broken.
Treatment options for appendicitis
Depending on your condition, one or more of the following may be included in your recommended treatment plan for appendicitis:
- Appendix removal surgery
- Surgery to drain an abscess
- Pain relievers
- IV fluids
- liquid diet
Appendicitis may get better in rare cases without surgery. In most cases, however, you will need surgery to remove your appendix. It’s known as an appendectomy.