The purpose of the appendix isn’t known. Your appendix is located at the junction of the small and at the large intestine. It usually sits in your lower right abdomen.
There is a theory that the appendix is a storehouse for your good bacteria. Other views are that it's a remnant that's useless from your evolutionary past. If the appendix is removed, it doesn't cause any health issues.
Appendicitis is when your appendix is inflamed. When you have appendicitis is causes pain in the lower right abdomen. But most people have pain around the navel area, and then it moves. As the inflammation becomes worse, the pain increases, and then severe pain will begin.
The signs and symptoms of appendicitis are a sudden pain on the right side of your lower abdomen. Or sudden pain that is around your navel and then shifts to your lower right abdomen. If you cough, walk or make any jarring movements, then the pain becomes worse.
You could have nausea and vomiting with a loss of appetite. You may develop a low-grade fever that becomes worse as the illness continues. You could have diarrhea, constipation, bloating in your abdomen, or gas. The pain site could vary depending on where your appendix is located and your age.
The cause of appendicitis is usually a blockage in the lining of the appendix. This blockage results in infection, which causes appendicitis. Your appendix becomes inflamed. The bacteria multiply quickly, and if not treated promptly, your appendix can rupture.
If you have appendicitis, there can be serious complications. One complication is a ruptured appendix. If your appendix is ruptured, it can spread infection through your abdomen, which is called peritonitis. Peritonitis can set in, which requires you to have immediate surgery. You will need to have your appendix removed and your abdominal cavity cleaned out.
The other issue could be a pocket of pus that forms in your abdomen. If your appendix would burst, you could develop a surrounding pocket of infection, otherwise known as an abscess.
If an abscess forms, your surgeon places a tube through your abdominal wall to drain the abscess. The tube remains there for about two weeks. You are also given antibiotics to clear up the infection. When your infection is cleared up, then you will be scheduled to have your appendix removed. In some cases, your surgeon will drain the abscess, and then your appendix is immediately removed.
There are two types of surgery that are used to remove an appendix. An open appendectomy is an incision that is about 2-4 inches long. It’s made in the lower-right hand side of your abdomen. The appendix is removed through this incision.
A laparoscopic appendectomy is when 1-3 small cuts are made. A laparoscope is inserted into the incisions. There is a tiny camera and separate surgical tools, and your appendix is removed through these small incisions. Your surgeon looks at a TV monitor to look inside and guide the devices through your abdomen.