Your appendix is the oddball organ in your body. Even to this day, medical experts are uncertain about the exact function of the appendix. It’s very unique in the fact that it holds this distinction: A person can function perfectly with or without an appendix, but an improperly working appendix can cause serious complications or even death.
We’re talking specifically about when an appendix becomes inflamed, which can lead to a ruptured or burst appendix. But what exactly causes an appendix to burst? We explain what can cause your appendix to burst in this blog.
My Side Hurts
As we noted in a previous blog, when a problem causes your appendix to become inflamed, this is known as appendicitis. This is the first stage that could eventually lead to a burst appendix. Appendix inflammation can be caused by a variety of conditions, but it’s generally caused by two subsets of problems:
Regardless of the root problem, both the above causes can lead to bacteria buildup in your appendix. If bacteria are building up faster than the appendix can discard it, you’re going to start to suffer from appendicitis. Odds are you’ll begin to feel pain or a cramping-like sensation in your lower right abdomen, and it may be coupled with a fever and vomiting. Oftentimes the biggest reason an appendix bursts is because patients ignore the warning signs until it’s too late. Should you experience any of the above symptoms, consult with a specialist right away.
When you hear the term “burst appendix,” odds are you picture your appendix in a water balloon-like state, filling until capacity until it can’t handle the stress and it pops. However, your appendix doesn’t burst like a balloon, rather it ruptures more similarly to a stab wound. Imagine puncturing a flour sack. The flour would begin to spill out everywhere. Now imagine that flour sack is in your body, and the sack contains harmful bacteria. Should your appendix burst or rupture, that harmful bacteria would spill out of its container and into the body cavity where it can cause major infections and even death.
In the end, inflammation, pressure and ignoring symptoms are the three main reasons why an appendix may burst. Thankfully, as we mentioned above, your appendix is a nonessential organ and your digestive system can function perfectly without it, so you won’t be much worse for the wear if you head to the doctor when symptoms set in. Sometimes medications or surgery can help clear the obstruction, but other times it’s simply easiest to remove the whole organ. A qualified general surgeon with a background in appendectomies can perform the operation with ease.