Appendicitis and The Appendectomy
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Appendicitis and The Appendectomy

Appendicitis is caused when your appendix, a small organ (3-4 inches in length) located at the end of your large intestine, becomes blocked (generally by fecal matter). The appendix is a pouch-like structure that is a part of your colon. Its thought that the appendix has functions that are necessary for fetal development in utero. Its also speculated that the appendix has immune system functions and contains "healthy bacteria" that aid in removing harmful pathogens from the body when a person is afflicted with "unhealthy flora" in the body. This "healthy bacteria" is thought to flush out the "unhealthy flora" and help return the afflicted to health. The appendix can vary in size and shape among people.

Appendicitis is caused when your appendix (veriform appendix), a small organ (3-4 inches in length) located at the end of your large intestine, becomes blocked (generally by fecal matter).  The appendix is a pouch-like structure that is a part of your colon. Its thought that the appendix has functions that are necessary for fetal development in utero.  Its also speculated that the appendix has immune system functions and contains "healthy bacteria" that aid in removing harmful pathogens from the body when a person is afflicted with "unhealthy flora" in the body.  This "healthy bacteria" is thought to flush out the "unhealthy flora" and help return the afflicted to health.  The appendix can vary in size and shape among people.   It is also thought that the appendix had a more useful function in the bodies of ancient man and pre-human ancestors.  This purpose may have been to digest bark and tough plants to digest that either no longer exist or its no longer required that we eat.  Humans don't need an appendix to survive, but scientists tend to concur that it probably does have some small purpose, even to modern humans.  Further, scientists tend to also believe that the appendix isn't completely obsolete such as the wisdom teeth and tale bone in the human body that still exist in modern humans.

Its common to feel a burning sensation around the belly button, which over time gradually becomes more like a stabbing pain, and becomes quite unbearable when one is suffering from Appendicitis.  At first, a sufferer may not even know that this condition is pretty serious if left untreated.  I, myself, was ready to go to bed for the evening when the onset of Appendicitis occurred in my own body.  The pain became so severe that this, of course, was impossible.  The pain will travel from the belly button, generally to the right side of the abdomen and continue to worsen.  At first, one may vomit and think you have food poisoning or another virus affecting the the abdomen region.  You may burp or pass gas as the infection carries on further.  Its also possible to become dehydrated, weak, and have fainting spells when the infection begins to affect you seriously enough.  I, myself, felt faint, weak, and almost lost consciousness.  I became pale, clammy, and sweaty on a cool winter day for no apparent reason.  I'm a relatively healthy 33 year old woman.  This is when I realized something was definitely wrong and I needed medical attention. 

There are many minor conditions that occur in the abdominal cavity such as gall stones, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.  Eco-topic pregnancies in early stages can also mimic some of the symptoms one experiences in appendicitis.  A pregnancy test might be a step in ruling out this condition when being diagnosed.  I regularly take Metformin, which can cause burning sensations in the stomach when its fully being metabolized, or if its taken in the wrong conditions on an empty stomach.  This is what I believed was happening to my body.  Some symptoms experienced with Appendicitis are similar to those one may experience in gall stone affliction, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.  An individual may experience a low grade fever, chills, and/or diarrhea when an infection occurs in your appendix.   

The usual remedy is simply to remove the appendix, which is, of course, not a vital organ to ensure a quick recovery for the patient concerned.  The first test that is generally ordered is a blood screen that checks the level of your white blood cells.  If you white blood cell count is unusually high, you probably have a serious infection somewhere in the region you are experiencing pain, pressure, and discomfort in.  In this case, this area is your abdomen.  X-rays, a CT scan, and an ultrasound might be ordered to rule out other conditions that might mimic Appendicitis.  Luckily if your pain level is large enough, which it probably will be if you are a candidate for having your appendix removed, pain medication can and will be prescribed while you are enduring Appendicitis while doctors and medical professionals are in the process of diagnosing a patient. 

The "new" procedure for an appendectomy is to make three incisions on your abdomen.  This is called a laparoscopic appendectomy.  It takes less than a half an hour to complete, usually.  One incision is made in the navel where your belly button is located, one is made above your belly button slightly to the left of it, and one is made on your underwear line parallel to the pubic bone.  One incision is for the laparoscopic camera to be inserted so the surgical team can see the inside of your abdomen.  The other incisions are for surgical tools to be inserted to actually remove the appendix and surrounding infected tissue, if necessary.  The appendix is removed through your belly button.  The scarring is minimal, and recovery time takes just days.  A full recovery is made in six weeks, generally, with a person able to function at near-full capacity within a week or two!  Just ten years ago even, a person might spend nearly a week in the hospital and have a large slash across the abdomen, leaving a large, unsightly scar.

An Appendectomy patient can be released the day of the procedure, or just a day or two after the surgery and must rest for a few days to recover properly.  Pain medication may be prescribed to aid the patient with pain management in the first two or three days following an Appendectomy.  Generally, a patient can return to a traditional diet immediately following the procedure provided there are no complications. 

If you experience any of these symptoms and begin to feel weak, lethargic, and begin to appear much paler than usual, please call your doctor and or a family member, neighbor, or trusted friend to get your appropriate medical attention.  If no other people or your doctor aren't available, call 911.  It could save you much trouble, and possibly your life.  When your appendix ruptures, this is when serious issues arise.  It does happen and happened to my own grandfather in recent memory. 

If you, for some reason, are able to weather Appendicitis well into its end stages, your appendix can and will rupture, releasing toxins such as e-coli, into your bloodstream.  An appendix is useful in that it localizes an infection and can be easily removed long before a ruptured appendix happens.  My grandfather was not so lucky and nearly died.  Tough can mean foolish, so don't wait until this happens to you.  Seek medical attention when you reasonably suspect you could have appendicitis or another similar condition.  You can and will die if your appendix ruptures and you don't seek medical treatment. 

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Comments (4)

Very well written and highly informative. I haven't had any problems yet.

Glad to hear you came out of it well!

I'm glad I don't suffer from this,

Thanks, guys.  I am very glad none of you had the misfortune of having a "broken" appendix.  Its not fun.  At first I just thought I had a really bad stomach bug or food poisoning or something until I almost fainted.  Ewww, not fun, but the scarring is extremely minimal.  I almost have to point them out when I show them to people.  Feeling soooo much better.  This was on March 11th, in the wee hours of the morning, ehhhh.

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