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What are the symtoms?

The symtoms of appendicitis are variable enough to make diagnosis difficult at times, even for
the most experienced of doctors. Usually, the symptoms come on quite quickly, often within 24
hours of the onset of inflammation of the appendix.

The principal symtomps is severe abdomianal pain, which usually stars as vague discomfort
around the nevel but becomes sharper and more localized during the course of a few hours. If
you have appendicitis, you will probably feel pain in a small spot in the lower right part of your
abdomen (the site of the inflamed appendix). Even slight pressure on the spot will increase the
pain. You also will feel feverish, will have nausea and may actually vomit. In addition , you will
lose your appetite ; and you may either be constipated or - less likely – have diarrhea. If you
have a dull , recurrent pain in the lower part of your abdomen, this may lead you to suspect that
you have what is sometimes called a “grumbling appendix”. However, most doctors would agree
that that there is no such condition.

How common is the problem?

Every year, about 1 person in 500 has an attack of appendicitis. Anybody of any age may be
affected but the disease is rare among children less than 2 years old.

What are the risks?

Appendicitis presents very little risk as long as the condition is diagnosed early. One risk is that
the sufferer may think, in the early stages of the problem, that the pain is caused by
gastroenteritis or constipation and take a laxative; purgative medicines can cause an inflamed
appendix to burst (perforate). There is also a chance that the swollen appendix will burst if
treatment is delayed. When the appendix bursts, the contents are discharged into the abdomen
and the likely result is peritonitis. But it is possible that the momentum, a flap of tissue that
covers the intestines, will envelop the inflamed appendix, cordoning off the area and preventing
the spread of infection. When infection is localized in this way, the result is an appendix abscess.
Anorexia nervosa-a refusal to eat that can lead to extreme loss of weight, hormonal disturbances
and even death-is primarily an illness of adolescent girls. Although generally treated as a disease
in itself, it is often a symptom of a psychological problem closely associated with family
background.

Although the cause of the illness is not yet understood, one explanation is that it arises from a
subconscious desire to retreat from oncoming maturity. The teenage girl diets in order to make
her body retain its pre-adolescent shape.

This rejection of normal sexuality may be triggered by an early sexual experience that has led to
feelings of fear or guilt. Or, sometimes, an emotionally insecure girl may decide she must lose
weight to gain friends.

What are the symptoms?

The illness usually starts with dieting in a normal way but the girl eats less every day. She gives
false reasons for doing so, insisting, for example, that her legs or arms are still too fat. The less
she eats, the less she wants. Even if she becomes skeletally thin, she still sees herself as plump
and does not eat sensibly. Sometimes ,however, she may go on “binges”, gobbling up quantities
of a particular food-and then vomiting. To counter family pressure, she may hide food and throw
it away, claiming she has eaten it. When her weight drops to about 12 kg (almost 25 tone) below
normal, she stops having periods and her body may develop lanugos hair (the fine, downy hair
that cover a fetus ).

At the beginning of the illness, a sufferer from anorexia nervosa is often abnormally energetic.
She may cook large meals for others while starving herself, and she will insist that she feels fine.
But her skin begins to look sallow and papery, and she eventually becomes obviously ill.
Constipation is likely to develop, but weather or not she is constipated, she may take large doses
of a laxative in the belief that by hurrying food through her system she will keep from growing
fat. In later stages of the illness, she may lapse into full – scale depression.