The appendix is a thin tube that is about four inches long and is located at the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine. The function of the appendix is unknown, but one theory is that it serves as a storehouse for good bacteria.
Appendicitis is when the appendix becomes inflamed and needs to be removed or it can rupture, spilling infectious material into the abdominal cavity. This may occur as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin. Appendicitis is considered an emergency and anyone with symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
1. Appendicitis may cause pain in the abdomen which may be described as follows:
· May start in the area around the belly button and move over to the lower right-hand side of the abdomen, but may also start in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen.
· Usually increases in severity over time.
· May become more severe with moving, taking deep breaths, being touched, and coughing or sneezing.
· May spread throughout the abdomen if the appendix ruptures.
2. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and chills, constipation, diarrhea, inability to pass gas, and abdominal swelling.
3. The symptoms of appendicitis may resemble other medical conditions. Furthermore, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Always consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.
** It is important that patients with symptoms of appendicitis not take laxatives or enemas to relieve constipation as these can cause the appendix to burst. Pain medication should also be avoided as they can mask other symptoms. **