What is appendicitis? What are the causes, symptoms, complications and prevention of appendicitis? Information on appendicitis.
The exact cause is unknown, but one of the explanations offered is the bacterial cause, that is, bacterial infection elsewhere in the body may be carried by the blood or by food to the appendix. A more acceptable theory is based on a mechanical cause, in which the appendix is blocked, usually by stool or, rarely, by swallowed foreign bodies. Occasionally worms may lodge in the appendix and cause infection. In all cases the symptoms are the same; the appendix is infected and swollen, and acts like an abscess on any part of the body.
Another complication is that the appendix may perforate and an abscess form in the area of the infection. This may burst into other organs or even open through the skin surface in the form of a fistula. Abscess of the liver and abscess below the right diaphragm also are possible complications.
Once the attack begins, prompt medical care and surgery are essential in order to avoid serious complications and speed recovery. The patient should avoid taking any laxatives, because they can cause the infected appendix to rupture. Ice packs may ease the pain, and even slow the process, but surgery is the only cure. So-called chronic appendicitis, in which there are repeated attacks, is very unusual, and most physicians do not believe such a condition exists.
***This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a doctor warning or recommendation.