What the appendix is ​​for: its main functions

If you have ever suffered from appendicitis , had to remove the appendix by emergency surgery and you felt their annoying and terrible symptoms, it is quite likely that at that time you would ask what is the appendix for? , that small bag of 8 centimeters connected to the large intestine and which we do not really remember until it causes us "problems".

With regard to appendicitis, basically it is the inflammation of the appendix which occurs when its opening is blocked, either by the presence of a foreign body or by feces (and sometimes more rare by a tumor). In severe cases it may break, possibly causing the death of the person. Hence, it is considered an emergency condition, which must be treated quickly.

Appendix functions

Although as we already knew on a previous occasion, their symptoms can be so varied that their diagnosis is not always easy, especially in young children, women of childbearing age and the elderly, where their signs and signals can be easily confused with other disorders and health problems.

What is the appendix?

As we mentioned very briefly in the previous lines, the appendix consists of a small organ, in the form of a tube or sachet, which is attached to the first part of the large intestine.

Because of its situation we find it located in the lower right part of the abdomen. It tends to reach 8 centimeters in length and between 4 to 8 millimeters in diameter.

Main functions of the appendix

From a popular point of view there is a belief that the appendage is really useless, finding only an evolutionary remnant of the ancient Homo species, which used to eat many plant foods needed the appendix to process these large amounts of vegetable. That is to say, it was believed that in reality it did not fulfill any function.

What is the appendix for?

However, as researchers at the Duke University Medical Center discovered in 2009, the main function of the appendix is ​​to harbor bacteria , which make up the intestinal flora and fulfill fundamental functions in our body.

That is, its main function is to make it possible for certain microbes to grow to control and stimulate the action of our intestinal flora, allowing the regulation of the functions of our intestinal flora at the lowest risk of infection in our colon or in our intestine.

We are, therefore, before an organ whose main function is of immunological type . In fact, did you know that it is part of our lymphatic system?

In the words of the researchers, apparently the appendix would act as a refuge for good bacteria , which our body can use to 'restart' the intestine after an attack of cholera or dysentery.

Images | ISTOCKPHOTO / THINKSTOCK

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