What is the Appendix?
The appendix is an outpouching of the large intestine. It is a tube-like structure that originates from the first part of the large intestine which is called the caecum. Appendix acts like a residual part of the large intestine which was working as a part of the immune system in infants but with the passage of time, it becomes useless. Appendix if not infected may not cause any harm to the human body.
Where is the Appendix Located?
• Appendix is located on the right lower side of the abdomen.
• For general understanding it is located right side down to the umbilicus and slightly above the pelvic bone.
• In medical terms it is located by drawing a line midway between the umbilicus and right anterior superior iliac spine or by placing a little finger on the umbilicus and thumb on the anterior superior iliac spine the point where these fingers met is the McBurney’s point. At this point base of the appendix is located. This point is important from a surgical point of view.
What is Appendicitis?
Infection of the appendix occurs due to microorganisms like bacterial, viral, fungal, etc. in this case, this infected appendix will be known as appendicitis.
Appendicitis is an abnormal condition in which a patient presents with the following complaints:
• Pain on the right lower side of the abdomen
• Pain may be cramp-like in nature
• Unsteadiness and feeling of sickness
• Cough, sneezing, and wheezing may increase pain in the appendix site
• Difficulty in defecation
• Dark or black stools
• Urine incontinence
In appendicitis patient will present will unbearable pain acute in nature within 24-72 hours or within 1-3 days.
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How do assess whether the patient is having appendicitis or not?
• On the part of the physician, by physical examination he/she will locate the McBurney’s point and then check the tenderness by applying pressure if pain on deep palpation is felt then further investigations and patient history will proceed towards diagnosis.
• Imaging tests like CT scan, Abdominal X-ray, MRI, etc. but the gold standard for appendicitis is Multi-detector CT-Scan (MDCT).
• CBC report for denoting raised WBC count which is an indication of active infection.
Appendicitis confusion with other conditions:
Appendicitis may get confused with other conditions such as:
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Infectious enterocolitis
• Neutropenic colitis
• Meckel’s diverticulitis
Appendicitis is it a harmful condition or not?
Appendicitis is not a harmful condition. But if the appendix burst out after infection, then may cause the following conditions
• Sepsis (an infection spread within the body)
• If remain untreated then can cause ultimate death.
The mortality rate before the proper treatment of the appendix was more than 50%. After the surgical removal intervention for the appendix, the mortality rate is less than 5%.
Treatment of Appendix:
• Antibiotics (if appendicitis pain subsides with medicine, then there is no need for surgical intervention)
• Surgical procedure used for appendicitis is known as Appendectomy. It is a simple procedure in which an incision is made on McBurney’s point and the infected appendix is then removed. It is an emergency procedure, and the patient returns to their daily life activities within 2-4 weeks.
What Food Can Cause Appendicitis?
According to research, there are a few food items that can cause appendicitis as followings:
• Vegetable seeds and Fruit seeds like orange, grape, nut, date, oat, fig, barley, cocoa and cumin, etc.
• Fried food items rich in fatty acid
• Alcohol consumption
• Red meat
• Bakery items
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