Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. The appendix, a small intestinal pouch extending from the cecum, occupies the first part of the large intestine. Despite having no apparent function, the appendix may become diseased. Approximately 1 in 500 people have appendicitis attacks each year. Any person with undiagnosed abdominal pain should have appendicitis ruled out. It occurs more commonly in men between the ages of 15 and 24. It is rarely seen in children under 2.
Causes of Appendicitis
Appendicitis infection happens for no apparent reason, usually from bacteria in the intestinal tract. Contents in the intestinal tract or a constricting band may cause the appendix to become obstructed. The appendix then becomes swollen, inflamed and filled with pus.
Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis
The disorder usually occurs with crampy pain in the mid-portion of the abdomen. The pain then shifts and becomes persistent and localized in the right lower abdomen, worsening with moving, breathing, coughing, sneezing, walking, or being touched. Other symptoms may be: nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, low fever, and abdominal swelling. Tenderness is localized in the right lower quadrant, usually 1/3 distance from the naval to the hip bone. In some cases the appendix is located somewhere else and this makes diagnosis difficult.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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