This is a common condition affecting people of all ages, but despite being sometimes regarded as a problem in childhood, it is most common in adults
in their 20s and 30s. The appendix is a blind-ending tube which comes off the right side of the large bowel near to where this joins to the small bowel.
It has no known function and there are no convincing theories as to why it is there in the first place. It most commonly becomes blocked by a small
pellet of stool which then leads to infection and inflammation.
What symptoms would I get?
There are three common symptoms which, if all are present are strongly suggestive of appendicitis:
1) Abdominal pain which starts as a generalised ache and gradually moves over to the right side of the abdomen to rest over the appendix and
2) Gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhoea
3) Loss of appetite (present in 70% of people with appendicitis)
People admitted with suspected appendicitis will usually have some blood tests which often show a rise in the inflammatory markers and numbers of
white blood cells (the blood cells which fight infection).
What treatment will I need?
Some cases of appendicitis may settle with antibiotics alone, however the an operation to remove the appendix is still the recommended treatment in
people fit enough to undergo surgery. This is sometimes done with a laparoscopic (key-hole) operation, and sometimes by traditional open surgery.
There is actually little difference between the two techniques in terms of speed of recovery and the risk of complications. Once you have recovered
from the surgery and there are no early complications detected, you will be discharged home from hospital.