Appendicitis

What is Appendicitis

Appendicitis means that this tube is swollen (inflamed). Without treatment, the tube can tear (rupture).

The appendix is a tube that is shaped like a finger. It is connected to the large intestine. This can lead to a life-threatening infection. It can also cause you to have sores (abscesses). These sores hurt.

What are the causes?

This condition may be caused by something that blocks the appendix, such as:

  • A ball of poop (stool).
  • Lymph glands that are bigger than normal.

Sometimes, the cause is not known.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain around the belly button (navel).
    • The pain moves toward the lower right belly (abdomen).
    • The pain can get worse with time.
    • The pain can get worse if you cough.
    • The pain can get worse if you move suddenly.
  • Tenderness in the lower right belly.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous).
  • Throwing up (vomiting).
  • Not feeling hungry (loss of appetite).
  • A fever.
  • Having a hard time pooping (constipation).
  • Watery poop (diarrhea).
  • Not feeling well.

How is this treated?

Usually, this condition is treated by taking out the appendix (appendectomy). There are two ways that the appendix can be taken out:

  • Open surgery. In this surgery, the appendix is taken out through a large cut (incision). The cut is made in the lower right belly. This surgery may be picked if:
    • You have scars from another surgery.
    • You have a bleeding condition.
    • You are pregnant and will be having your baby soon.
    • You have a condition that does not allow the other type of surgery.
  • Laparoscopic surgery. In this surgery, the appendix is taken out through small cuts. Often, this surgery:
    • Causes less pain.
    • Causes fewer problems.
    • Is easier to heal from.

If your appendix tears and a sore forms:

  • A drain may be put into the sore. The drain will be used to get rid of fluid.
  • You may get an antibiotic medicine through an IV tube.
  • Your appendix may or may not need to be taken out.
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