Appendicitis is an irritation, inflammation and infection of the appendix (a narrow, hollow tube that branches off the large intestine). The appendix functions as a part of the immune system during the first few years of life. The appendix was once thought to serve no purpose in adults but recent discoveries have linked it to immune function. In appendicitis, it can become infected and, if untreated, can burst, causing more infection and even death.
A Answers (8)
Johns Hopkins Medicine answered
The appendix is a small, tube-like vestigial organ that hangs from the large intestine, with an immune-related function early in life, but adults can live a normal life without it. Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, usually caused by a foreign body trapped inside.
While blocked by the foreign body, the lining of the appendix continues to produce mucus, but that mucus has no egress point. Bacteria normally found in the intestines can then build up and make toxins in the lining of the appendix, building pressure and causing severe pain in the abdomen. The wall of the appendix can then break open, spilling the contents into the abdominal cavity, causing serious redness and swelling. This is called peritonitis, and it can be fatal.
Appendicitis is more common in men and teenagers, and family history seems to play a role in increased risk of developing the condition.
This content originally appeared on the HCA Virginia Physicians blog.
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
Appendicitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the appendix. A fecal obstruction, lymph swelling, or tumor may cause appendicitis. If not treated immediately, it may rupture or the appendix may become gangrenous due to an extended obstruction, which is a life-threatening condition. Males between the age of 15 and 25 are most susceptible, but appendicitis can occur at any age for males and females.
The treatment for appendicitis is surgery to remove the appendix. (This answer provided for NATA by the University of Montana Athletic Training Education Program.)
Intermountain Healthcare answeredAppendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. It is a small pouch located in the lower right side of the abdomen, where the small intestine joins with the large intestine. The inside of the appendix forms a pouch that opens into the large intestine. The opening of the pouch can get blocked by a foreign object or by swelling in the intestine. It can become inflamed and infected by bacteria.
If the infected appendix is not removed, pus from an infection can build up and burst. The infection from a ruptured appendix can spread throughout the abdomen.
Appendicitis is one of the causes of serious belly pain. It happens when the appendix, a part of the large intestine, becomes infected and inflamed.
Appendicitis is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30, although it can occur at any age. Common symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Pain in the belly. The pain may begin around the belly button.
- Pain in the belly that gets stronger and moves below the belly button to the lower right side.
- Pain that does not go away and gets worse when the person moves, walks, or coughs.
- Pain in any part of the belly or on the side.
- Nausea, throwing up, and not wanting to eat.
- Constipation, back pain, and a slight fever.
- A general feeling of being sick, and a pain that is hard to describe.
If the inflamed appendix is not surgically removed and the infection gets worse, the wall of the appendix can break open (rupture). This spreads infection into the belly area, causing peritonitis. Peritonitis is a serious condition that, in rare cases, can lead to death.
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Appendicitis occurs when bacteria invades the wall of the appendix, causing inflammation of the small, long tube that extends from the large intestine.
The most common symptoms of appendicitis are abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever, and tenderness around the abdomen.
Appendicitis can be a medical emergency that requires surgery to remove the appendix. An inflamed appendix will eventually burst, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity.
Common complications of appendicitis are abscess and peritonitis, inflammation of the tissue along the inner wall of the abdomen. Removing an appendix is a common procedure and most people can live without one without apparent consequences.
Joan Haizlip, MSN, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answeredAppendicitis is an infection of the appendix. The appendix is a small, finger-shaped pouch that is attached to the lower intestine or colon. We really don't know the purpose of the appendix, but like any other infection in the body, it does cause pain when it becomes infected. Appendicitis is a medical emergency and surgery is required to remove it.