Our human body is quite mysterious. Many things are yet to be revealed. There are many vestigial organs that functioned eons ago but now are not active right now. These organs are slowly getting eradicated with evolution. One such vestigial organ is the appendix. You can find it on the bulge of the large intestine where the small intestine ends. Due to inflammation, this organ inflates and pains. This disease is called appendicitis. In this section, we will define appendicitis and its symptoms. We will also study the reasons for the development of this disease.
The term ‘appendicitis’ is a biological term that refers to a disease where the appendix gets inflamed. It is a sac-like organ that is present right beside the junction of the large and small intestine in the digestive system of the human body. This organ has currently no role to play in the contemporary digestive system of human beings.
The inflammation causes the inflation of this organ leading to pain, discomfort, and infection when not treated on time. This is a very common case that generally occurs among patients of age ranging from 10 to 30 years. In fact, it is also very common among men. More than 250,000 cases are witnessed in the USA alone. Now that we have defined appendicitis, let us move on to find its cause.
There are many causes behind the formation of appendicitis. Here is a list that includes the possible reasons behind the development of this disease in the human digestive system.
It can happen due to the abdominal trauma received from shock, impact, or any injury. The direct impact in the lower abdomen where this organ lies can cause local inflammation in this vestigial organ leading to pain.
Inflammatory bowel disease is one of the prime reasons for developing appendicitis. It is caused due to prolonged occurrence of inflammation in this region. If this disease is localized near the small and large intestine connection, it can cause irritation in this organ resulting in appendicitis.
In most cases, it has been found that improper bowel movement causes obstruction near the opening of the appendix. This results in prolonged obstruction and internal mucus. The mucus accumulates inside this sac and eventually causes inflation. The inflation, on the other hand, puts stress on the local blood circulation thus resisting the tissues from getting nutrition and oxygen.
This prolonged obstruction results in inflammation of the tissues. If it is ignored, it can cause necrosis or the unnatural death of the tissues and it can spread very fast in the digestive tract. Appendicitis is the primary stage of necrosis in this organ.
Gastrointestinal infection is one of the prime reasons for appendicitis. Due to prolonged gastrointestinal infection, this organ also gets affected resulting in inflammation. The infection-causing agents can transport and settle down in this organ causing infection. Once the infection is spread in this organ, it will cause pain, discomfort, and inflation.
Tissue enlargement is also a concern that causes obstruction to the passage of the internal mucosal fluid to the large intestine. This enlargement of tissues cannot be detected unless it has reached a considerable level and causing pain.
The lumen of the appendix can also get clogged due to biological reasons. This obstruction reduces the immunity power in this area resulting in the increase of parasitic development.
Let us define appendicitis symptoms and find out how a patient can identify this disease and seek medical attention.
The patient will suffer from fever due to inflammation. It can also happen due to the spreading of infection in the tissues of this organ.
Vomiting sensation is quite common. In fact, the patients often vomit profusely. This is a very common symptom. Patients generally misunderstand it with digestive problems. All the other symptoms should be considered too.
Appendicitis will cause pain in the lower abdominal region close to the navel. The abdomen will also swell to some extent. This swelling will not reside until proper medical action is taken.
The patient will also feel uncomfortable and pain while passing gas or during flatulence.
Over the years, the advancement in medical science has made it easier to design an appendicitis treatment easily. An invasive procedure is undertaken in a laparoscopic method where only three small incisions are done to introduce a camera and operational utilities. The inflamed appendix is then removed precisely once the surgeons confirm the inflammation and infection level.
If it is nominal and goes almost undetected in the non-invasive tests, doctors prescribe antibiotics and other medicines to recede the symptoms. The antibiotic course helps in reducing the bacterial growth in this organ leading to the quick healing of the inflammation.
The major problem occurs when the appendix is perforated, swollen, and has burst open. It can cause immense complications in the patients. In some severe cases, the chronic infection crosses the appendix wall and reaches the peritoneal wall causing peritonitis. When it goes untreated, it can cause perforation in the peritoneal membrane that holds every organ inside our abdomen. It needs intensive care in the well-equipped medical units specializing in handling such cases.
1. Why is the Appendix Considered a Vestigial Organ?
Ans: The appendix is considered to be a vestigial organ as its functions are not known to this date. It has no functions whatsoever in the contemporary gastrointestinal anatomy of human beings.
2. What is the Prime Reason Behind the Formation of Appendicitis?
Ans: When we define appendicitis, we find that the most common cause is the obstruction of the appendicular lumen that stores mucosal fluid. This fluid, when obstructed for a longer time span, will cause the sac to inflate resulting in appendicitis later.
3. How General Cases of Appendicitis are Treated?
Ans: A simple course of antibiotics and other medications to treat the symptoms can help heal this organ.