Listen to Dr. Keeli  Henzelka, one of the Emergency Room physicians at Five Star ER discuss appendix and appendicitis.

What is an appendix?  What is appendicitis?  When should I be worried about appendicitis that should be checked by a physician.

First off,  the appendix is a small tubular structure that is off the end of your cecum which is the beginning of your large intestines.  And for the majority of the population that is in the right-lower abdomen.

So what is appendicitis?

It is when the appendix gets inflamed or infected.  That most commonly is caused by obstruction to the appendix.  If you have lymph nodes around the area that are enlarged, they can cause an obstruction.  Also, fecal stasis, which is a fancy term for constipation or fecalis can also cause obstruction of the appendix.

So they’ve shown that in cultures that have a high fiber diet, your chances of an appendicitis are less.  So eating fiber might help prevent appendicitis.

Also, about seven per cent of the population will end up getting appendicitis at some point in their lifetime, but it is most common in the teenage years, but you can get it at any point in your lifetime.

What are symptoms you should look for?

Since the appendix most often in the lower right part of the abdomen, pain there is probably the most concerning feature.  Classic symptoms of appendicitis would be pain that starts as vague or in the center of your abdomen then localizes or moves to your right lower abdomen.  Along with anorexia which is a fancy term for not wanting to eat, nausea, vomiting or fever.  These classic symptoms are only present in about 50% of the time.

So if you have any pain in the right lower abdomen, it is best to be checked by a qualified physician.