Appendicitis

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Overview

Appendix is a finger like projection of the colon in the right lower region of the abdomen. Inflammation of an appendix is termed as appendicitis. The dominant sign of this condition is abdominal pain, which may vary in severity. It is a condition that usually arises in ages 10-30, and requires surgical removal as a treatment.

Causes

Any obstruction within the appendage (by faeces, tumours, etc) can cause the bacteria within to proliferate and cause infection. This pus-filled state of the appendix needs prompt attention or it may undergo rupture and prove to be fatal.

Symptoms

The pain associated with appendix usually begins suddenly around the umbilicus (navel) and gradually moves to the right lower abdomen. It can be intense as the inflammation progresses, and is worsened upon coughing or straining. Other symptoms associated with appendicitis include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation/diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low grade fever

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually established on clinical assessment and history, and tests such as blood tests, urine tests, and imaging (X-ray, CT etc.) may be used to rule out other causes.

Treatment

The standard procedure for appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix, preceded by a course of antibiotics to depress the infection. Surgical options include:

  • Laparotomy
  • Laparoscopic Surgery
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