In your lower right abdomen is a thin tube called the appendix. This organ sits where your small intestine meets your large intestine. This four-inch tube is believed to be an evolutionary holdover that doesn’t really provide benefit to your body or health.
Because its exact function is unclear, many of us rarely pay attention to it unless it gets infected.
Appendicitis or inflammation of the appendix is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain that often leads to surgery. Its exact cause is unknown although experts believe an obstruction or blockage to the appendix plays an important role in its development.
The blockage can be brought about by the buildup of hardened stool, traumatic injury, tumors, or in rare cases, intestinal worms.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The most common symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain. The pain can be felt in the lower abdomen or around the belly button. The pain can also be felt in the lower right side of the abdomen.
Aside from abdominal discomfort, appendicitis can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever.
Diagnosing and Treating Appendicitis
A thorough physical examination is done to help determine if your symptoms are due to appendicitis. Your doctor will check for tenderness and rigidity in the lower right abdominal area. Additional tests may also be done to rule out other possible conditions.
Depending on the severity of your appendicitis, your treatment plan may include one or a combination of the following:
- Needle drainage or surgery to drain the abscess
- Drug therapy (antibiotics and pain relievers)
- Liquid diet
In most cases, surgery is needed to remove the inflamed appendix. This procedure is called an appendectomy.
If you have an abscess that has not ruptured yet, your doctor may eradicate it first before performing the surgery.
Our General Surgeons at Premier Surgical Associates Knoxville and Cleveland, TN, are well-experienced in diagnosing and treating appendicitis. To request an appointment with a physician at a Premier Surgical office near you, please visit https://www.premiersurgical.com/request-appointment/.