Appendicitis is caused due to inflammation of the appendix when it becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body or cancer.
Appendicitis is caused due to inflammation of the appendix when it becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body or cancer. In some cases, the blockage may also occur due to infection since the appendix swells in response to any infection in the body. Some potential risk factors for appendicitis include diet low in fibre and high in sugar, family history and infection.
There are, however, no known ways to prevent appendicitis or predict when it will occur. The risk of appendicitis can probably be decreased by eating foods high in fibre such as fresh fruits and vegetables. You can decrease the risk of complications and improve prognosis by consulting your doctor if you have symptoms suggestive of appendicitis.
Common symptoms of appendicitis include:
- pain in abdomen located in the middle of the abdomen often near the navel or "belly button" (umbilicus), which slowly moves to the right lower abdomen (toward the right hip) over a few hours;
- nausea and/or vomiting which usually starts soon after abdominal pain;
- bloating or swelling of abdomen;
- fever (may be low grade or high grade--99° F to 102° F);
- inability to pass gas;
- pain during passing urine and
- change in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhoea with gas.
Remember that everyone with appendicitis will not have all of the symptoms. The symptoms are mild and vague in children, pregnant women and the elderly. This may make diagnosis more difficult and increase the risk of complications. If you have one or more of the above mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor to diagnose the cause of your symptoms and start treatment accordingly. Timely treatment of appendicitis decreases the risk of complications and improves prognosis.
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