We have all heard about, known someone or experienced the phenomenon of appendicitis. In some ways, its almost folklore-like mystery has come down to us generation after generation, so that even small children have heard of deadly pains and rushed plans to speedy transport to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Yet even if we have undergone this dreadful pain and necessary emergency surgery we are often in the dark about what, exactly, the appendix itself is, whether or not it is really "vestigial" and how on earth it can cause so very much pain.
The appendix is a worm, or finger-shaped appendage with, literally, unknown functions that juts out from the large intestine. As with any internal organ, inflamed or aggravated states will cause tremendous discomfort. The causes of appendicitis can vary, but the most commonly seen are either an obstruction or an infection. An obstruction can be either food or fecal matter which becomes lodged in the appendix. The infection situation is a bit less straightforward as this can be a result of another systemic illness or infection which then affects the appendix.
If you have appendicitis, the appendix is inflamed, enlarged, and filled with pus. The very serious state of a burst appendix means that the appendix and its infected contents have burst, or ruptured and can fill the abdominal cavity with the infected material. This can lead to extremely serious illness and even death.
While all people are different and appendicitis symptoms feel different to everyone, the typical pain pattern is that people experience pain around their abdomen, near their belly button, which can travel slowly or quickly through the abdominal cavity toward the lower right side.
Appendicitis can affect anyone, but it most often occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30. The standard appendicitis treatment is surgical removal of the appendix.
Signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include: