Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a 3 1/2-inch-long finger-shaped pouch which projects from the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen.
Appendix helps in the production of immunoglobulins (also known as antibodies) – substances which are part of the immune system.
Typically, appendicitis is the result of an obstruction of the area inside the appendix called the appendiceal lumen, or appendix lumen.
People of any age may be affected by this condition, however, the highest incidence is seen in teens and young adults.
According to statistics, approximately 7% of people in the United States will experience appendicitis at some point in their lives. The overall lifetime risk is 6 percent for females and 9 percent for males.
Also, over 250,000 cases of appendicitis are reported annually in the US. Plus, it is one of the most frequent cause of abdominal pain resulting in surgery.
Note – an irritated appendix can turn into an infected and ruptured appendix, occasionally within several hours. A ruptured appendix can be life-threatening.
There are a variety of issues which can cause appendicitis, including:
- various foreign objects, like – bullets, stones, pins, or air gun pellets;
- malignant or benign tumors;
- enlarged tissue in the wall of the appendix – this can be caused by an infection in the gastrointestinal tract;
- abdominal trauma or injury;
- ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract – this can result from chronic disorders, like – ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease;
- intestinal parasites or worms, like – pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis);
- appendicoliths or fecaliths – these are calcified fecal deposits which may cause constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Note – contrary to popular belief, swallowing seeds from various fruits does not increase the risk of appendicitis.
Common symptoms may include:
- inability to pass gas;
- dull pain near the navel or the upper abdomen (migrating to the right lower quadrant of the abdomen) which becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen;
- fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit;
- loss of appetite;
- abdominal swelling, especially in infants;
- nausea soon after the abdominal pain starts;
- blood in the urine;
- sharp, localized, persistent pain;
- painful and frequent urination;
- pain which worsens with deep breathing, coughing, walking, sneezing, movement, or being touched;
- coated tongue and bad breath;
- constipation, possibly alternating with diarrhea;
- abrupt cessation of abdominal pain after other symptoms occur;
- rapid heartbeat.
By creating softer stools which are less likely to get trapped in the appendix, a regular high-fiber diet helps reduce the chances of developing appendicitis.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 35–40 fiber grams for men and 25 fiber grams for women. However, most people in the United States get less than half of the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber.
Foods rich in fiber include:
- red kidney beans;
- navy beans;
- mung beans;
- flax seeds;
- chia seeds;
- sunflower seeds;
- pumpkin seeds;
- oat bran;
- sweet potatoes;
- sweet peppers;
- black beans;
- lima beans;
- Brussels sprouts;
This condition is a result of anger towards an acute situation or a problem that we can not solve, which makes us “boil” inside and causes distress.
Usually, it’s a situation that unbalances our sensitivity and emotions. Our fears and constant worries may have triggered this event because we kept having negative thoughts.
To diagnose appendicitis, a healthcare professional will ask about your signs and symptoms and do a physical examination.
In most cases of appendicitis, the appendix needs to be surgically removed as soon as possible. This medical procedure is known as an appendectomy or appendicectomy.
The appendix can often be removed using laparoscopic surgery. This procedure uses a few small incisions and a camera to look inside the abdomen during the operation.