Where is the Appendix?
Your appendix is a small tube of tissue that is attached to part of your intestine (colon). It sits in the lower right part of your abdomen and is about 5 to 10 centimeters long (about 2 to 4 inches).
What is appendicitis?
If you have appendicitis it means your appendix is inflamed.
Appendicitis tends to happen when the appendix gets blocked. Fluids, hard bits of stool or swollen lymph glands can get trapped in the appendix, and when this happens, the appendix becomes inflamed or infected. This leads to the painful symptoms of appendicitis.
What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
The first thing you'll probably feel if you have appendicitis is pain around your belly button. After about four hours to six hours, the pain will probably travel to the right side of your lower abdomen. You probably won't feel like eating and you might vomit.
You may also:
- Have cramp-like pain in your abdomen
- Have a slight temperature (about 37.7'C to 38.3'C, or 100'F to 101'F)
- Have constipation, or less commonly, diarrhoea
- Have pain that gets worse when you move, take a deep breath, cough or sneeze
- Feel like you need to pass a stool
- Feel more comfortable being bent over, or lying with your knees drawn up
But not everybody gets all of these symptoms especially if the appendix is not in the usual place
If you have appendicitis, you will need surgery to take out your appendix. Your doctor may call this an Appendicectomy.
If you have appendicitis, you'll need surgery to take out your appendix. If your appendicitis isn't treated, your appendix can burst. This is called a ruptured or perforated appendix. A burst appendix can cause a serious infection inside your body. There are two types of surgery for appendicitis:
- Open surgery: your surgeon makes a cut in the lower right part of your abdomen to take out your appendix.
- Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy): Your surgeon makes three or four smaller cuts, and does the operation with the help of cameras.