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Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis
The appendix is a small finger sized structure that branches off the large intestine. The appendix functions as a part of the immune system during the early years of life. After this time, the appendix stops functioning and other organs continue helping fight infection. Although the appendix may not seem to serve any purpose, it can become diseased. If left untreated the ill-functioning appendix can burst, causing infection and even death.
Classic signs and symptoms of appendicitis present as pain in the right lower abdominal area. This pain is often mistaken for constipation and laxatives of any sort should not be taken. But how would you know the difference? Well, additional symptoms may include pain in the right thigh upon rotation, pain when coughing and pain across the lower back that greatly increases over a 24 to 36 hour period.
Appendicitis usually affects people between ages 15 and 44, and often affects more men than women. However, there are rare cases where the elderly are affected.
This relatively mild condition may worsen if medical care is delayed and the appendix ruptures, which could lead to a serious infection. The severity of the rupture may depend on a person’s age and physical condition.
Treatment typically consists of removing the appendix as it is no longer needed and the probability of a life threatening infection is high. Recovery is generally a couple of days of hospitalization providing there isn’t a rupture. The stay will be longer with a rupture and antibiotics are necessary. One can live a normal life without an appendix and no physical lifestyle modifications are necessary.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you or your child experiences signs or symptoms that worry you. Abdominal pain so severe that you are unable to sit still or find a comfortable position requires immediate medical attention.
Maurice T. Judkins is a Radiation Therapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Durham North Carolina. He is a decorated United States Army Veteran and was trained as a Combat Lifesaver while serving a tour in Iraq. He also Contributes to healthyblackmen.org.