the question why we have the appendix if we don’t really need it has come a long way.
Most of us even don’t spend too much time thinking about the appendix as a part of your body until it develops an infection and you feel that stabbing pain in your stomach. Then suddenly it becomes all you think about.
The organ, a little dead-ended tube which is attached to your intestines, has long been assumed to be some kind of useless.
However research has proven that although we might not need it to live, the organ plays a part in our immune system.
The appendix has been said to be a safe house or a storehouse, even a cultivation centre for the normal, beneficial bacteria that our gut needs. That safe house would be necessary and useful in the event that the main compartment of bacteria, the large bowel, got contaminated with some kind of infectious organism and got flushed out.
In the event that a serious infection stripped the intestines of their good bacteria, the appendix, which is sequestered away from the main intestines and has a tiny little opening, could then shed some of the good bacteria it’s been storing back into the large intestines and ‘re-inoculate the system’.
“The function of the organ is very minimal that we can live without it, but when it has an infection, it is life threatening and needs to be removed immediately”, said Dr. Richard Gandziani, Specialist Surgeon at the Rhino Park Hospital in Windhoek.
Dorothea Lucas, who had her appendix removed recently, said that she regrets not having it removed earlier before it caused her so much pain.
“I heard a lot about people having their appendixes removed as a preventative method but I thought it was against the will of God to remove parts of the body unnecessarily. I had this abdominal pain for two weeks and I thought it was just indigestion until it got a lot worse. I went to see my doctor who referred me to a surgeon immediately and within two days my appendix was removed. If I had known this was going to happen, I would have had it removed ages ago to spare me the pain”, she said.
Ultimately, the immediate mortal danger of having an infected appendix is obviously far worse than the danger of being without a long-term stockpile of good gut bacteria. So, if you must face and appendix-free life, take heart, you’ll probably survive without it, just try not to catch any serious intestinal infections by eating healthy.