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Appendicitis basically refers to the swelling and infection of the appendix. The appendix can be easily located in the lower right side of the abdomen. It is attached to the beginning of the large intestine or colon. Appendicitis is usually identified by pain that starts from the navel and moves towards the right side of the abdomen.

Causes of Appendicitis

Appendicitis can be caused by any abnormal change to the tissues of the appendix. This happens when the appendix is infected by bacteria, when digestive tract infections occur, or any blockage between the large intestine and the appendix is present. Blockage between the large intestine and appendix is generally caused by feces or food. In case of a bacterial attack, these bacteria start multiplying within the organ and filling the organ with pus that results in swelling.


Severe pain in the abdomen is the foremost symptom of appendicitis. The nature of this pain is moving, and the patient is usually unable to identify the exact location of their pain. Tenderness at a particular point, fever and vomiting, are the associated features of appendicitis.

Prevalence and Course

Appendicitis is prevalent in people aged 10 years to 30 years. Almost 8% of all people will develop appendicitis at least once in their life.

When to see a doctor?

There are some particular signs that demand an urgent check up by an expert health practitioner to detect appendicitis. If an individual is verbalizing about severe pain starting from the bell button moving to the right side of the abdomen, especially if coughing, walking or talking intensifies the pain, then it should be taken seriously. This kind of pain will most often be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever, loss of appetite or swelling of the abdomen. Although these signs can appear in other diseases, abdominal pain and accompanying signs that strike an individual chronically and suddenly is more likely appendicitis.

Fasting is the best thing to start with when early signs of appendicitis are detected, then consult a doctor immediately. Untreated appendicitis can cause death.


Diagnosis of appendicitis is difficult in the sense that the individual is usually unable to locate the painful area exactly. Usually doctors use physical examination, blood tests, CT scans of the abdomen and ultrasounds to detect the presence of appendicitis. Blood samples are used to count the amount of white blood cells (white blood cells target infection in the body), while CT scans are conducted to detect swelling of the appendix. Ultrasound is, however, the most common procedure to diagnose appendicitis.


If appendicitis is detected early, the condition can be treated with the help of antibiotics. If there is a delay in detecting appendicitis, appendectomy (surgery) is the only solution before the appendix bursts. If the appendix burst inside the body, (peritonitis) the person could die. Once a successful operation has taken place, patients usually recover within two weeks and go back to their normal routine.

Risk Factors

Constipation and hard stools make one more prone to appendicitis. Swollen lymphatic tissues are also risk factors of appendicitis.



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