172014Jan

What Are Common Causes of Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix become inflamed and infected.  The cause of appendicitis is not always known.  Some known causes of appendicitis are an obstruction and an infection in the appendix.  An obstruction in the appendix can occur if food waste or a hard piece of stool block the opening of the cavity that runs the length of your appendix.  Your appendix is a 3 ½ inch-long tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine.   The purpose of the appendix is not known.  You are able to live with our without your appendix.

Many people who have appendicitis will experience pain around the navel that shifts to the lower right side of your abdomen.  The pain experienced with appendicitis often will increase over a 12 to 18 hour period and become very severe.  The pain will also often worsen if you cough, walk or make other sudden, jarring movements.  Other symptoms that often accompany appendicitis are: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, low-grade fever (99-102 degrees Fahrenheit), constipation, inability to pass gas, diarrhea, and/or abdominal swelling.

In the United States, appendicitis is fairly common.  One in 15 people will get appendicitis.  You can get appendicitis at any age, but it is rarely seen in children under the age of 2.  Cases of appendicitis are most likely seen in people who fall between the ages of 10 and 30.

Appendicitis is a medical emergency and should be addressed immediately. You are advised the go to your nearest hospital and go directly to the Emergency Department.   The only treatment for appendicitis is the surgical removal of the appendix.  If left untreated, the inflamed and infected appendix will eventually burst and leak infection into your abdominal cavity.

References:
1.  “Appendicitis.”  Mayo Clinic.  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.  August 13, 2011.  Web 17 Jan 2014.
2. “Appendicitis.”  WebMD.  Digestive Disorders Health Center.   July 20, 2012.  Web 17 Jan 2014.