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What You Should Know About Appendicitis

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Many people have heard of the appendix or appendicitis, but most do not know much about them. If you are one of those people, get to know some of the important facts about appendicitis. Then, you can be sure that if you ever have symptoms of the condition, you contact a doctor or go to the emergency room right away. 

What Is the Appendix?

The appendix is a pouch in the colon. Its main purpose is to help with immune function, specifically to help maintain good bacteria in the intestines and colon. 

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a condition that affects the appendix. The appendix may become swollen, develop inflammation, or be infected. 

What Causes Appendicitis?

Oftentimes, appendicitis develops when the appendix is blocked by fecal matter in the intestines. This blockage can result in the aforementioned swelling and inflammation and can eventually cause an infection to develop. 

What Are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

Appendicitis generally causes pain on the right side of the abdomen. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and diarrhea. 

What Should You Do If You Have Symptoms?

Appendicitis is a condition that can get quite severe in a short period of time. The biggest danger of appendicitis is that the appendix could burst, releasing fecal matter and infected tissue into the abdominal cavity. This can result in a much larger infection that can be difficult to treat and even life-threatening. 

Because of this risk, you should seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms of appendicitis. While you could go to your primary care doctor, it may be more prudent to go to the emergency room as your primary care doctor will refer you to the hospital if appendicitis is confirmed. 

How Is Appendicitis Treated?

Appendicitis is treated through surgery. A general surgeon will remove the appendix so that it cannot burst and cause other problems throughout the body. There are several different surgical methods that can be used to remove the appendix, depending on how severe the appendicitis is. 

Some of the time, the appendix can be removed laparoscopically. This means the incision involved in the procedure is quite small. This cuts down on surgical recovery time and can reduce the chance of a secondary infection developing in the incision. However, a larger incision may be required in emergency situations or if the appendix is too swollen to remove laparoscopically. 

Now that you know more about appendicitis and its treatments, you can be sure you seek medical attention at the onset of symptoms to get the care you need right away.