How to recognize appendicitis

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Which of these things is roughly the same size and shape as your appendix?

Your appendix is a small tube that’s found where your small and large intestines meet. It sits in the lower right part of your belly. It’s sometimes called the “vermiform” appendix, which means “worm-like.” It’s about 2 to 4 inches long.

What’s the job of your appendix?

For many years, doctors believed your appendix didn’t serve any purpose. But now some researchers think it may store good bacteria and help your immune system in some way.

When you have appendicitis, your appendix:

Sometimes this happens after an infection in your intestine, or it might be caused by a blockage. The reason for it isn’t always clear. If you have it, your doctor probably will give you antibiotics and recommend that you have the organ taken out.

If your appendix is taken out:

You won’t need to make any changes to your routine. Once you’ve recovered from surgery — usually just a couple of days in the hospital and then a few days at home — you’ll be fine.

Which makes you more likely to get appendicitis?

You can get it at any age, but it happens most often to teens and people in their 20s. It’s the No. 1 reason children have emergency abdominal surgery, but it’s rare under the age of 2.

Which of these is not linked to appendicitis?

While binge-drinking can be bad for your health in many ways, it’s not known to affect your appendix. But an infection with parasites or being hit hard in your abdomen can make the tissues around the organ swell and cause a blockage that can lead to appendicitis.

When you have appendicitis, the pain sometimes moves from:

That’s not always the case, though. Some people feel it on the right side of their belly from the start. Other symptoms can be vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and fever. If you have these symptoms and think you may have appendicitis, get medical help right away. Infection can spread throughout your abdomen if your appendix ruptures.

What’s the best way to prevent appendicitis?

It seems to happen less often in people who eat a lot of fiber, but there’s no research that shows changing your diet lowers your chance of having it.

Appendicitis is contagious.

You can’t catch it from someone or give it to anyone else. But if someone in your family had it, you’re more likely to, especially if you’re a man.

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