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Appendicitis

An inflamed appendix leads to a condition of appendicitis. In this condition, the opening of the appendix into the cecum is blocked. Mucus or stool can be the causes for the blockage. A blood clot or carcinoid tumor may also be a cause for the blockage of the appendiceal orifice. In some cases, appendicitis follows a gastrointestinal viral infection. The inflammation causes reduced blood supply to the appendix thereby diminishing its ability to fight infection. Inflammation and infection can lead to a rupture of the appendix thereby spreading the infection to the entire abdominal area. Perforation of the appendix usually warrants immediate surgery. If the infection is allowed to enter other parts of the body, it can be life-threatening. Another fallout of appendicitis is that the contents of the intestine are blocked from passing. This leads to abdominal distension with nausea and vomiting. In few cases, the body is able to resolve the inflammation and infection with antibiotics and care. This usually happens when the appendicitis is noticed and diagnosed at a very early stage.


Symptoms of appendicitis are abdominal pain that is diffused and not localized. The patient might have elevated body temperature with tenderness in the lower right abdomen, if palpated. When the appendiceal inflammation increases, the pain is clearly localized to a single area - between the front of the right hip bone and the belly button. Early symptoms of appendicitis are often easily mistaken for gastroenteritis. Children may have fewer symptoms thereby making diagnosis more difficult. Appendicitis is first diagnosed with a thorough physical examination. Abdominal scans are useful in detecting the cause of blockage. A blood test of a person suffering from appendicitis will reveal abnormal white blood count. But it cannot be taken as the only sign of appendicitis. A CT Scan can help reveal the area of the appendix that is affected.

Appendectomy

With traditional appendectomy, the surgeon enters the abdomen through a 3 inch long incision. The appendix is removed by freeing it from the attachment to the abdomen and colon. Pus will need to be drained in case of an abscess. Laparoscopy is now regularly used to remove an inflamed appendix. A small fiber optic tube with camera is inserted through one or two small punctures made on the abdominal wall. Tiny instruments are passed through the other abdominal incisions to remove the appendix. Laparoscopy allows a surgeon to view the appendix and other abdominal organs. A decision can then be made whether the appendix needs to be removed at all. A clear diagnosis is possible with laparoscopy on doubtful cases of appendicitis. Laparoscopic appendix removal allows faster recovery and lesser scarring.

Worms

Worms are parasites that live and thrive on the human and other bodies. Intestinal Parasites feed off from hosts and can be broadly classified into 2 major groups:

Protozoans: Protozoa are single cell organisms causing many diseases like Amebiasis, Giardiasis, Trichomoniasis,Sleeping Sickness,Dysentery and Malaria.


Helminths or Parasitic Worms: This kind of parasite infects the host through contaminated food, infected uncooked food, unhygienic handling of food or by skin contact with larvae.


Threadworms or pinworms: Thin tiny pinworm thrives in the intestine. They thrive due to poor hygiene. Contact with contaminated objects passes the infection through the eggs that enter through the mouth and thrive in the gut. Contact with cat or dog feces can lead to thread worm infection. Notice them in the early morning stools.

Round Worms: These roundworms can move to eyes and lungs and cause swelling in different body organs. They cause upper abdominal discomfort, insomnia, rashes and eye pain. If left untreated, roundworm infection can lead to appendicitis, loss of appetite and peritonitis.


Tape Worms: These tapeworms are like flat ribbons and can become encrusted in the brain and skin.

Hook Worms: Hookworms burrow into the intestinal walls and feed on the blood. Typical symptoms of hookworm infection are iron deficiency, protein deficiency, stunted growth and delayed puberty.

Pin Worms: Pinworms suppress the immune system and cause problems such as irritation around the anus or vagina, digestive problems and irritability.


Symptoms of worms or parasites infection are:



Anti-parasitic medications are prescribed for threadworms. Increased hygiene is of utmost importance. Washing of hands regularly; especially after using the restroom is vital. Keep fingernails short. Bathe daily and wear clean clothes. Keep the toilet seat disinfected.


Intestinal Obstruction

A complete or partial blockage of the bowel thereby preventing intestinal content to move through is termed as intestinal obstruction. The bowel comprises the large intestine and the small intestine. When there is a block in either of them, the condition shows up. Intestinal content like fluids, food and gas do not pass through completely or partially due to this condition.


Intestinal obstruction is also known as paralytic ileus, bowel obstruction or colonic ileus. The blockage or obstruction may cause pain that is intermittent. If left untreated, intestinal obstruction may lead to death of those parts of the intestine that are blocked leading to further complications. However if treated on time, intestinal obstruction can be treated effectively.


What causes intestinal obstruction?

Common causes for intestinal obstruction:


  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease

  • Tumors in the small intestine

  • Intestinal adhesions, bands of fibrous tissue in the abdominal cavity that are formed after the pelvic or abdomen surgery.

  • Intussusception

  • Volvulus i.e. twisted intestine.

Mechanical causes for intestinal obstruction arise from


  • Hernia
  • Tumor, Colon cancer
  • Stricture, narrowing of the colon caused by inflammation or scarring.
  • Diverticulitis
  • Impacted stool, noticed in people who get constipated for long periods.
  • Post surgery scar tissues or adhesions.
  • Gallstones in a few cases
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease.

Paralytic ileus or pseudo-obstruction is a major cause of intestinal obstruction in children and infants. Conditions that cause paralytic ileus include:


  • Complications from an abdominal surgery or pelvic surgery.
  • Kidney or lung disease
  • Bacteria or virus that cause intestinal infections
  • Decreased blood supply to the intestine
  • Abdominal infections like appendicitis
  • Chemical, mineral or electrolyte imbalance
  • Substance abuse like use of narcotics
  • Muscle and nerve disorders like Parkinson's.

Symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, distention and bloating. There is reduced appetite and vomiting. An obstruction in the intestines can lead to either constipation, diarrhea or flatulence. After physical examination, Xray or CT scan of the abdomen might be suggested as also . In some cases, an enema or stent is required to open up a partial blockage. Nasogastric tube (tube from nose to stomach) is passed so as to relieve abdominal swelling and vomiting. Volvulus of the large bowel may be treated by passing a tube into the rectum.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 11, 2017