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The appendix is a small worm like structure or “appendage” located at the beginning of the large intestine. It has no definite function in humans so it is regarded as a remnant from our evolutionary past. Some theorists believe it acts as a store house of good bacteria however surgical removal of appendix does not show any observable health problems. Its narrow lumen makes it susceptible to blockage. Once blocked, bacteria grows rapidly and cause inflammation of the appendix called appendicitis. The appendix can become swollen and filled with pus, sometimes leading to rupture and spread of bacteria in the abdomen.
Symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Abdominal pain (may initially developing around the navel, then moving to the right lower abdomen
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Possibly diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal bloating
*The site of abdominal pain may vary depending on your age and position of your appendix.
If you or your family member develops these symptoms, you should be seen in an emergency room immediately to confirm the diagnosis. Appendicitis is considered a surgical emergency because it can rapidly progress and be a potentially life threatening infection.
Appendicitis is a surgical problem that will need to be treated with surgical removal called an appendectomy. Your doctor will provide intravenous (IV) antibiotics as well as pain medication while other tests such as an ultrasound or a CT scan are being done to confirm the infection and prepare for surgical removal.
At Life Savers Emergency Room, we are fully equipped to diagnose appendicitis with our on site laboratory and CT scanner. We have radiology services on call 24/7 as well as surgical specialists on call for your care.