Dr. Kolachalam, Appendicitis
What is the Appendix?
The appendix is a small, tube-like organ attached to the first part of the large intestine. In the photo you can see the appendix, it looks like a finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine in the lower right area of the abdomen, the area between the chest and hips. It has no known function.
A person my have discomfort with this organ in the case of obstruction that causes inflammation. This is called appendicitis.
How would Dr. Kolachalam diagnose Appendicitis?
Dr. Kolachalam would need to collect information from you and perform various tests to rule out many conditions that can mimic symptoms of appendicitis. Some of this information collecting and testing includes but is not limited to:
- Medical History
- Physical Exam
- Lab Tests
- Blood test
- Pregnancy tests
- Imaging Tests
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – MRI machines use radio waves and magnets to produce detailed pictures of the body’s internal organs and soft tissues without using x rays.
- CT scan – CT scans use a combination of x rays and computer technology to create three-dimensional (3-D) images.
What causes Appendicitis?
A blockage inside of the appendix causes appendicitis. An obstruction, or blockage, of the appendiceal lumen causes appendicitis. Mucus backs up in the appendiceal lumen, causing bacteria that normally live inside the appendix to multiply. As a result, the appendix swells and becomes infected.
Blockage sources include:
- Stool, parasites, or growths that clog the appendiceal lumen
- Enlarged lymph tissue in the wall of the appendix, caused by infection in the GI tract or elsewhere in the body
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, long-lasting disorders that cause irritation and ulcers in the GI tract
- Trauma to the abdomen
The blockage leads to:
- Increased pressure
- Problems with blood flow
- Appendix can burst and spread infection into the abdomen.
- The burst and infection causes a condition called peritonitis.
What are the symptoms of Appendicitis?
The main symptom is pain in the abdomen, often on the right side. It is usually sudden and gets worse over time. Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to pass gas
- Low fever
Not everyone with appendicitis has all these symptoms. Symptoms vary and can mimic the following conditions that cause abdominal pain:
- Intestinal obstruction—a partial or total blockage in the intestine that prevents the flow of fluids or solids.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease—an infection of the female reproductive organs.
- Abdominal adhesions—bands of tissue that form between abdominal tissues and organs. Normally, internal tissues and organs have slippery surfaces that let them shift easily as the body moves. Adhesions cause tissues and organs to stick together.
- Constipation—a condition in which a person usually has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. The bowel movements may be painful.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency. Treatment almost always involves removing the appendix. Anyone can get appendicitis, but it is more common among people 10 and 30 years old.