Appendicitis is characterized by sore swelling of the appendix. The appendix is a thin, small-sized pouch around 5-10 cm long. It is linked to the large intestine where stools are formed.
The role of the appendix is not fully known but its removal is not harmful. Appendicitis generally starts with pain or discomfort in the middle of the abdomen that can come and go.
In just hours, the pain radiates to the lower-right side where the appendix is positioned and becomes continuous and severe. If the area is pressed or the individual walks or coughs, it can aggravate the pain. In most cases, the individual might have diminished appetite, experience occasional diarrhea or feel sick.
When to seek medical care
If the individual experiences abdominal pain that is gradually worsening, consult a doctor right away.
Call for emergency assistance if there is abrupt pain that continues to worsen and spreads all over the abdomen.
Remember that these are indications that the appendix has ruptured which can lead to life-threatening complications.
Management of appendicitis
Generally, the appendix should be taken out surgically as soon as possible. The removal of the appendix or appendectomy has a high success rate and commonly done all over the world.
The procedure is executed as keyhole surgery or laparoscopy which involves the creation of several incisions in the abdomen where a special instrument is inserted.
If open surgery is done, a larger single incision is created in the abdomen. This is usually done if the appendix has ruptured or access is difficult.
Most can fully recovery from the procedure in just a couple of weeks but it is vital to avoid engaging in any strenuous activities for up to 6 weeks after open surgery.
Appendicitis can develop at any age, but prevalent among young individuals ages 10-20 years old.