The appendix is a protrusion of the caecum of unclear importance for the body. It has been postulated that under proper conditions the appendix serves as a “safe haven” for beneficial bacteria. In crisis situations, when the natural gut flora dies, the beneficial bacteria survive in the appendix.
Another theory speaks of the role of the appendix as “intestinal adenoids”. The appendix is involved in the immune processes in the intestine.
Theories about the role of the appendix in the body explain that the appendix is not just a part of the intestine that should be preventively removed without regrets. There is no doubt, however, that a relatively common condition associated with the appendix is…
… Acute appendicitis
Acute inflammation occurs as a result of obstruction of the appendix, usually by a fecal “stone”. The closure of the appendix causes severe inflammatory reactions, ulceration of the appendix and, consequently, rupture of the appendix wall, pouring out the contents into the peritoneum and peritonitis.
Acute appendicitis is more common in:
- Men (inflammation occurs 2 times more often than in women)
- People in their 2nd or 3rd decade of life
- People living in highly developed countries (including Poland)
The characteristic symptoms of appendicitis are:
- Severe stomach pain – initially rather indeterminate, then localized to the lower right abdominal quadrant. The variability in the location of pain may be caused by an individual anatomical structure, pregnancy or the retroperitoneal position of the appendix.
- Symptoms related to peritonitis: fever, muscle defense in the abdomen, local abdominal pain when coughing.
The diagnosis of acute appendicitis is based primarily on clinical symptoms. Additional tests make it possible to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude other causes of pain.
It is necessary to perform a blood test (characteristic increase in the concentration of white blood cells and inflammation indicator proteins) and imaging diagnostics (USG and possibly X-ray).
Treatment of appendicitis
The method of choice for acute appendicitis is to excise the structure. The excision can be performed with laparoscopy (abdominal endoscope) or by classical surgery. The choice of method depends on the surgeon’s decision in agreement with the patient, each method has its advantages and limitations.
Antibiotic therapy is a method complementing surgery, it is also used as a treatment without surgical intervention. The use of antibiotic therapy alone is almost never justified. Even in the case of apparent improvement, about 40% of those treated in this way relapse.
What to do if you suspect you have acute appendicitis?
Characteristic abdominal pain, beginning for no apparent reason, may suggest that the problem is appendicitis. Speed of action is important in acute inflammation and treatment is started as soon as possible.
For professional diagnosis of abdominal pain:
Go to the Emergency Department (Emergency Department)
Visit your GP. The doctor, after carrying out the necessary tests, will issue a referral to the hospital ward for further diagnosis and treatment
Take advantage of a telemedicine consultation. The doctor, on the basis of characteristic symptoms and tests that can be performed remotely by the patient himself, will issue an e-referral to the hospital ward for further diagnosis and treatment.