Diseases

Appendicitis

Epityphlitis

Appendicitis is a bacterial infection of the worm-shaped appendage (appendix) of the caecum. The appendix protrudes from the first part of the caecum, is hollow on the inside and approximately ten centimeters long. It has no significant function in humans. An appendicitis usually occurs very suddenly.


Cause

The cause of appendicitis is not always clear. It often occurs after disturbances in the intestinal functions, when not excreted stool residues have become solidified and small lumps have formed. Due to the closure, the caecum cannot empty itself. As a result, bacteria can multiply there and lead to inflammation. Then the appendix is swollen and filled with pus. Appendicitis is not contagious.


Symptoms

The caecum is located at the transition from the small intestine to the large intestine, in the lower right abdomen. Appendicitis usually begins with a sudden, severe pain around the navel and spreads to the lower right abdomen. Because the location of the caecum may vary, the pain can also occur at a slightly different place. Sometimes, there are symptoms prior to the pain, such as decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting. The patient has almost always increased temperature and a feeling of general malaise. Many people suffer from pain when touching and releasing the abdomen and while coughing and laughing.


Diagnosis

The doctor makes the diagnosis of appendicitis on the basis of the symptoms, in combination with several examinations:

Women are sometimes difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms match the symptoms of inflammation of the ovaries. In an ultrasound is not always clear to see whether it's an appendicitis or an inflammation of the ovaries.


Treatment

In case of an appendicitis, the appendix must be surgically removed. This is done under anesthesia and nowadays almost always by means of keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). In this operation, a pair of small holes (usually three) are made in the abdominal wall. The doctor inserts instruments through these holes and a small camera with light source and removes the appendix. A keyhole operation creates only a small wound and therefore recovery goes more rapidly than with a conventional operation, in which an incision is made in the lower abdomen.


Prognosis

When surgical intervention is done early enough, an appendicitis has a good course and the risk of a fatal ending is small. The recovery is usually rapid and complete.

When appendicitis is not treated in time, the appendix can burst. This will make the stool and pus full of bacteria flow into the abdominal cavity, causing a peritonitis. This is a serious condition, in which severe pain is felt throughout the entire abdomen. The prognosis is less favorable then. This complication was formerly fatal, but nowadays several operations and a long recovery period is required.


Considerations


Facts

Guide

Cause

Symptoms

Diagnosis

Treatment

Prognosis

Considerations

Facts

See also

Constipation

Blood Test

CT Scan

Laparoscopy

Medical Ultrasound

Urinalysis

Fiber

Physical Exercise

Category

Intestinal disease, Bacterial infection

First Health Guide

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