According to the Mayo Clinic, "An appendix stone is a hard piece of stool (fecal stone) that forms in the appendix." One of the many problems that appendix stones can cause is appendicitis. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, "Approximately 250,000 cases of appendicitis occurred annually in the United States during 1979 to 1984." Diagnosis and treatment can only be accomplished by a physician.
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Usually there are no symptoms felt until appendicitis occurs. Then pain sets in. The cause of appendicitis is the result of fecal stones settling between the intestine and the appendix. When this happens, inflammation occurs. This inflammation causes pain in the area, which causes the onset of appendicitis.
The location of this pain starts near your belly button and later moves to the lower right side of your abdomen. The pain starts small and amplifies throughout a 12-hour period. The pain can start out dull and eventually be felt as a sharp pain. Tenderness to touch also is associated with appendix stones.
Other symptoms can also be present. According to an article on CNNhealth.com (see Resources), other than pain, "you may have one or more of the following appendicitis symptoms: nausea and sometimes vomiting, loss of appetite, a low-grade fever that starts after other symptoms appear, constipation, an inability to pass gas, diarrhoea and abdominal swelling." Of course, you may have all of the symptoms or only a few. It is best to see a physician when in doubt.
If the appendix stones are not taken care of promptly, a person can end up with a ruptured appendix, which is life-threatening. Diagnosis is done by a tomography scan of the area of pain. In some instances, a discovery of appendix stones can be revealed when a barium colon X-ray is done for other reasons. At this point, your physician will advise you of the problem and schedule a surgery date.
Treatment involves removal via surgery of the entire appendix. This type of surgical removal is called an appendectomy. Usually this is protocol since it is where the stones are located and the appendix is looked at as a dispensable organ. In addition, this is a more acceptable method due to the seriousness of the possibility of an appendix rupture.
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