Appendicitis develops when the appendix becomes blocked, and bacteria invade and infect the wall and lumen of the appendix.
Severe complications of a ruptured appendix include widespread, painful inflammation of the inner lining of the abdominal wall and sepsis.
The appendix is a small, thin pouch about 5-10cm long. It’s connected to the large intestine, where stools are formed.
The wall of the appendix contains lymphatic tissue, which is part of the immune system.
Moreover, recent studies have concluded that the appendix may be an area that hosts good bacteria which fight infection and help digestion, especially in developing babies.
How Appendicitis Is Treated
This condition can develop at any age, but it is most frequent in children and young adults (about 5% of the U.S. population experiences it at some point in their lives). Most cases of appendicitis occur between the ages of 10 and 30 years.
Also, more than 250,000 appendectomies (the surgical removal of the vermiform appendix) are performed in the U.S. each year. Worldwide, around 7% of the population will have appendicitis in their lifetime.
Lately, many of these patients are being sent home directly from the recovery room, avoiding an overnight hospital stay.
The treatment for appendicitis is antibiotics (which are given before an appendectomy to fight possible peritonitis) and appendectomy. This type of surgery decreases the risk of side effects or death linked with rupture of the appendix.
There are no major, long-term health problems resulting from removing the appendix even though a small increase in a few diseases has been observed, for instance, Crohn’s disease – a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
If surgery is done with a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front for viewing inside the abdomen), the incision is smaller, and recovery is quicker.
More importantly, if the appendix has ruptured and the infection has spread, a larger incision will be made so that the area inside the abdominal cavity can be cleaned.
Usual symptoms include:
- right lower abdominal pain;
- painful urination;
- blood in the urine;
- rapid heartbeat;
- loss of appetite;
- inability to pass gas.
In some cases, the symptoms are not so typical. For instance, in some cases, the pain may develop more slowly and run a more smoldering course.
The following are some potential complications of appendicitis:
- infection of the surgical wound after operating upon the infected appendix;
- rupture/perforation of the appendix;
- if left untreated, appendicitis can lead to sepsis;
- blockage of the intestine secondary to an inflammatory mass;
- abscess formation.
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This condition is the result of an obstruction of the area inside of the appendix, called the appendix lumen or appendiceal lumen.
Obstruction is usually due to an accumulation of fecal matter, but it can also be the result of:
- enlarged lymphoid follicles (small masses of tissues which contain aggregations of inflammatory cells);
- intestinal parasites or worms, including and Entamoeba histolytica and pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis);
- swelling of the tissue from IBD such as Crohn’s disease;
- abdominal trauma or injury;
Some known risk factors for developing appendicitis are:
- swallowing small foreign objects;
- low fiber intake;
- chronic constipation.
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Spiritual Meaning of Appendicitis
Spiritually, appendicitis reflects the pain of change manifesting in those individuals who consider themselves a sort of “appendix” either in their family or among their peers.
One remedy before ingravescence (when surgery is required) involves letting go of repressed feelings, especially those associated with isolation.
Basil leaves are helpful to get rid of the pain as well as of the fever of appendicitis.
Water keeps a smooth flow on stool pass and urination. In addition, it helps to keep the body clean from toxic molecules.
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This condition is less frequent in people who eat foods high in fiber, such as fresh vegetables and fruits.
Without enough dietary fiber in your diet, bowel movements slow down, increasing the risk of appendix obstruction.
Eating a high-soluble fiber diet also reduces your risk of premature death from any cause, as it protects from many chronic diseases.
Top plants source fiber include:
- legumes (lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and black bean);
- mushrooms (shitake or portabella);
- cereals (oats, rye, corn, brown rice, and barley) fruits (prunes, oranges, plums, bananas, berries, apples, mangoes, and papayas);
- vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beet greens, spinach, artichokes, onions, cabbage, and sweet potatoes), nuts (almonds, pistachios, and pecans);
- seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds).
Contrary to popular belief, eating the seeds from fruits does not precipitate this condition.
Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty Images
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