Appendicitis Definition - What is Appendicitis

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the vermiform appendix, an appendage to the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. The inflammation results from a bacterial infection that causes the appendix to swell and fill with pus.
Appendicitis is a common condition (1 to 2 cases per 1000 people annually). The condition can occur
at any age. However, males between ages 10 and 30 are affected most commonly.

Appendicitis symptoms

An early symptom of appendicitis is intermittent pain in the navel region. This becomes more severe and, within hours, localizes to the lower, right-hand corner of the abdomen. The abdominal muscles tighten, and the person loses his or her appetite and becomes nauseated. A slight fever is usual, as is constipation. (The inflammation, however, may on occasion trigger diarrhea.) The lower abdomen is tender.
Touching increases the pain.

What should be done if appendicitis is suspected?

  • Do not give a laxative.
  • A physician should be consulted immediately.
  • Failure to seek prompt medical attention could result in a burst appendix, causing peritonitis (a critical infection of the abdominal lining).
  • With acute appendicitis, the patient usually is immediately taken to the hospital for an appendectomy, that is, an operation to remove the vermiform appendix.
  • In mild cases of appendicitis, the inflammation may subside by itself.


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