The Functions of The Appendix And Appendicitis

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The appendix has long been regarded as a potentially troublesome, redundant organ, but American researchers have discovered the true function of the appendix. The researchers say it acts as a safe house for good bacteria, which can be used to effectively reboot the gut following a bout of dysentery or cholera. “As an idea it’s an attractive one, that perhaps it would be a nice place for these little bacteria to localise in, a little cul-de-sac away from everything else.” said Nicholas Vardaxis an associate professor in the Department of Medical Sciences at RMIT University.

Appendicitis is one of the most common abdominal diseases that children and young adults encounter. Appendicitis begins when the entrance from the appendix into the cecum becomes blocked. The blockage might have been caused by the build-up of dense mucus inside the appendix. It also might be caused by stool entering the appendix from cecum. The mucus or stool solidifies and becomes as hard as a rock, which blocks the opening. In some cases, the lymphatic tissue in the appendix may enlarge and block the appendix. After the blockage takes place, bacteria that are normally found in the appendix infect the wall of the appendix. The body reacts to the bacteria by inflaming. A different hypothesis for the cause of appendicitis is an early rupture of the appendix, after the rupture the bacterium spreads outside the appendix into the body. The reason of a rupture is not clear; however it may be due to the changes that arise in the lymphatic tissue.

In some cases the appendicitis is healed with the use of antibiotics; however this can only be done in the early stages of appendicitis. This is mostly common in elderly people. There usually is a lump on the lower right abdomen after the appendix is healed; sometimes it is an indication or symptom of cancer.

The main symptom of appendicitis is pain in the abdomen. At first the soreness is spread and inadequately controlled into to one spot. The soreness is so difficult to precisely locate that when you are asked to point where you feel, the majority of people specify the location of the pain with a circular motion of their hand around the central part of their abdomen. Another common early symptom of appendicitis is minimal appetite. This may lead to nausea and vomiting.

While appendicle inflammation increases , it enlarges through the appendix to its outer layer and after, to the inside layer of the abdomen which is called the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a thin membrane that is the lining of the abdomen. After the peritoneum becomes swollen it then can only be contained evidently to one area. This area is below on your right hand side between your umbilicus (belly-button). The precise point is known as the McBurney’s point, named after Dr. Charles McBurney (a surgeon who used to describe the McBurneys point excellently).  If the appendix ruptures and infection spreads throughout the abdomen, the pain disperses again as the whole lining of the abdomen is irritated.

After the diagnosis of appendicitis is completed, an appendectomy (surgical removal of the appendix) is executed. Antibiotics are usually taken before surgery.

A small amount of patients have inflammation and infection of the appendix that remain mild, only to a specific small area. The body’s response to appendicitis is so effective that it can not only restrain the inflammation, infection, it can also cure the appendix. The patients usually recover in a few days. This is known as “restricted appendicitis” and in some cases it can be aided with medication by it self. If the appendix can not be cured the removal of the appendix is necessary or the body can get infected.

A person encountering appendicitis may not see a doctor until a couple of days, or sometimes weeks when the rupture has occurred. In this condition, abscess (pus and swelling) has formed, and the appendix may have punctures. The abscess can be treated with antibiotics if the abscess is small; sometimes appendectomy (the operation of removing the infected appendix) is executed before diagnosis because a ruptured appendix is life-threatening. In most cases, drainage is essential. A drain (small plastic tube) is placed into the skin and into the location where the abscess is, then the pus is disposed from the infected area out of the body. After the abscess has been removed, the appendix may be extracted in a few weeks or months. This is referred as an interval appendectomy. This procedure is completed in order to prevent a second infection of appendicitis.

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