The appendix serves no definite function that medical experts can agree on, and the usual course of action for an inflamed appendix is surgically removing it from the body, with no apparent side effects. What purpose, then, does the appendix serve and how will its removal affect your body?
Below is a closer look at the appendix, what happens when appendicitis sets in, and how you can avoid serious complications from a ruptured appendix.
Purpose of the Appendix
I personally believe that all body parts serve a purpose; otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. So the lackadaisical attitude in the medical world when it comes to removing the appendix at the first sign of trouble seems kind of odd. Doctors see it as no big deal to take out a person’s appendix since the body supposedly doesn’t really miss it anyway. So what role does the appendix serve?
The appendix is a worm-shaped sac located on the lower right quadrant of the abdomen, just below the cecum (which is the bottom bulge of the large intestine). Some evolutionists and scientists believe that the appendix is just an evolved and shrunken piece of the cecum, whose function has been lost over time due to humans’ gradual decline in eating cellulose-rich foliage. Many people believe that now the appendix serves no purpose and, therefore, can be removed without question for any reason.
However, some scientists theorize that the appendix serves several functions. First, it is believed that it assists with the body’s natural immune response when diarrhea sets in. It harbors beneficial bacteria while diarrhea or some other disease flushes them out of the intestines. Once the disease has run its course through the intestines, the appendix releases the good bacteria back into the intestines so that they return to normal.
Scientists are convinced that the appendix fights infections because of its high amount of lymphoid cells, creates hormones as babies grow in utero, and regulate temperature in fetuses. The baffling thing is that nothing seems to malfunction once the appendix is removed.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis?
You barely know the appendix is there until it becomes inflamed in a condition known as appendicitis, which occurs when the appendix is blocked by something foreign, by fecal matter or in some cases a cancerous growth. Appendicitis typically occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30.
Despite the appendix’s small size, when it is swollen the pain and other symptoms make a big statement in a short span of time. Symptoms of appendicitis include sharp pain around the navel that soon intensifies and radiates down to the lower right abdominal area, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, frequent urination, constipation or diarrhea, chills, tremors, fever, abdominal tenderness, and abdominal tightness or distention.
Avoid Complications of a Ruptured Appendix
If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical help to avoid further complications, such as inflammation of the abdominal wall, intestinal blockage, fistulas, an abscess, dangerously high fever, and a ruptured appendix.
E. coli bacteria in the bowels may leak into the abdominal lining if the appendix ruptures, causing serious infection and can lead to death if not dealt with immediately. Surgically removing the appendix before rupturing will quickly clear up your symptoms, but once rupture occurs the healing process is much longer.