The appendix is a long narrow tube (a few inches in length) that attaches to the first part of the colon. It is usually located in the lower right quadrant of the abdominal cavity. The appendix produces a bacteria destroying protein called immunoglobulins, which help fight infection in the body. Its function, however, is not essential. People who have had appendectomies do not have an increased risk toward infection. Other organs in the body take over this function once the appendix has been removed.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF APPENDICITIS
Abdominal pain: Appendicitis usually involves a gradual onset of dull, cramping, or aching pain throughout the abdomen. As the appendix becomes more swollen and inflamed, it will irritate the lining of the abdominal wall, known as the peritoneum. This causes localized, sharp pain in the right lower part of the abdomen. The pain tends to be more constant and severe than the dull, aching pain that occurs when symptoms start. However, some people may have an appendix that lies behind the colon. Appendicitis that occurs in these people can cause lower back pain or pelvic pain.
Mild fever: Appendicitis usually causes a fever between 99°F (37.2°C) and 100.5°F (38°C). You may also have the chills. If your appendix bursts, the resulting infection could cause your fever to rise. A fever greater than 101°F (38.3°) and an increase in heart rate may mean that the appendix has ruptured.
Digestive upset: Appendicitis can cause nausea and vomiting. You may lose your appetite and feel like you can’t eat. You may also become constipated or develop severe diarrhea. If you’re having trouble passing gas, this may be a sign of a partial or total obstruction of your bowel. This may be related to underlying appendicitis.