APPENDICITIS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Appendicitis is considered a medical emergency.
Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. It is thought that appendicitis begins when the opening from the appendix into the cecum becomes blocked. The blockage may be due to a number of things including:
- build-up of thick mucus within the appendix
- stool that enters the appendix from the cecum
- hard stool that is blocking the opening into the cecum
- inflamed lymph nodes
- trauma to the area
- possibly even virus
For whatever reason it's blocked, once it is, it causes an overgrowth of the bacteria that is already present in the appendix. If this is left untreated, it leads to first inflammation, possible rupture. If the appendix ruptures, it becomes very dangerous as the waste contents, in addition to the bacteria, mucous, and infection leak into the abdominal cavity. This can either lead to an abscess, or it can spread throughout the entire abdominal cavity affecting the other organs located here as well.
Once an appendix becomes inflamed, it could rupture in as soon as 48 to 72 hours. In some cases even as soon as 36 hours.
How do I know if I have Appendicitis? Here are common signs and symptoms.
These are some signs and symptoms you may experience, or may notice in someone else (ex:your child) who is suffering with appendicitis:
- PAIN: The main symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain. It's sometimes difficult for people to realize this is what it is at first because the pain is not localized. It generally begins around the mid-abdomen (belly button area) and as it progresses, the location of the pain in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen becomes very obvious. It will most likely not feel like any other type of pain you've ever experienced. The pain of appendicitis usually increases over a period of six to 12 hours, and eventually may become very severe.
- LOSS OF APPETITE
- POSSIBLE FEVER
- NAUSEA AND/OR VOMITING
- OTHER BOWEL PROBLEMS DIARRHEA, CONSTIPATION, DIFFICULTY WITH FLATULENCE, SWOLLEN ABDOMEN
- PAIN MAY WORSEN WITH MOVEMENT, COUGHING, JARRING ETC.
These are important to keep in mind if you're a parent because small children may not be able to communicate their symptoms effectively. As I shared in my sons story, he couldn't stand up straight. Many state the pain worsens with straightening out.
Signs and Symptoms of Ruptured Appendix
The symptoms above explain what symptoms you may have with the initial appendicitis. If an individual has appendicitis, and it ruptures, here are some of the symptoms that may be experienced following:
- Pain Subsides: Despite the severe pain someone may have had with appendicitis, once the appendix ruptures the symptoms may actually subside immediately after. This does not mean you're fixed. This means if you aren't at the emergency room, then you better get there pretty quick. This can be fatal.
- Tenderness of the area
- Muscles around now inflamed organs become stiff
- Smallest of movements can cause severe pain
- Nausea and other digestive problems
- RENAL FAILURE
- Shaking or Tremors
- Fever and Inflammation of the entire body
- SEPSIS read about the severity of sepsis!
Surgical Incision Locations
Diagnosis of Appendicitis
Diagnosing appendicitis is mostly done by rule out. The doctor will run several tests to rule out any other problem that could possibly cause the same types of symptoms. Some of these tests include:
- A medical history will be collected
- Blood work: main benefit is to check White Blood Count Level
- Urine test
- Pregnancy test
- Possibly Xrays, Ultrasound, more commonly a CT Scan (most times these will confirm the diagnosis)
- Physical Examination: Specifically checking for rebound tenderness
Blumberg's Sign is one of the main physical tests a doctor will perform while trying to diagnose apendicitis. It's the fancy medical name given to the rebound pain test. Basically, the doctor will press down gradually in the area of the appendix, usually with fingertips, and then release quickly. If the release causes you sever pain, this is what is called a Positive Blumberg's Sign, which is indicative of appendicitis, or peritonitis. The sign is explained by the fact that gradual stretching of the abdominal wall by deep palpation followed by sudden release of this pressure stimulates the parietal peritoneum which, if inflamed, produces pain. Rebound tenderness is not always a reliable sign and should be interpreted with caution, particularly in those patients with a low pain threshold.
Treatment of appendicitis
Appendicitis is treated by removing the inflamed appendix through an appendectomy. Antibiotics given intravenously such as cefuroxime and metronidazole may be administered early to help kill bacteria. Avoid eating or drinking as this may complicate or delay surgery. If you are thirsty, you may rinse your mouth with water. Do not take (or give your child) laxatives, antibiotics, or pain medications because they may cause delay in diagnosis and risk rupture of the appendix or mask the symptoms. Preoperative antibiotics have demonstrated efficacy in decreasing postoperative wound infection. Broad-spectrum gram-negative and anaerobic coverage is indicated. Preoperative antibiotics should be given in conjunction with the surgical consultant.
Acute Appendicitis Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. Antibiotics almost always useful in Appendicitis.
2. Appendectomy surgery removal of the appendix.
3. Intravenous (IV) fluids decrease the risk for wound infections after surgery
4. Appendicitis is less common in people who eat foods high in fiber so eat very low
Read the other parts of this series.
- PART 1: WHAT IS THE APPENDIX AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
- PART 2: (you are here) WHAT IS APPENDICITIS, SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF APPENDICITIS AND RUPTURED APPENDIX.
- PART 3: "MY SON COULD HAVE DIED IF I HADN'T KNOWN WHAT I DID..."
reflux from USA on October 18, 2011:
This article contain all the information about appendix signs, symptoms and treatments.Thanks for this useful information.
katherine on September 18, 2011:
About two hours ago I got a pain in the middle of my abdomen, near my bellybutton, and it has increased but instead of going to the right side it went to the left.is it possible that my appendix could have moved. Also I did the test and it hurt the first time but then I did it again and it didn't hurt as much.
Amy D. (author) from Mostly in My Own Little World on August 27, 2011:
Hello Jordan, now keep in mind, I am a nurse, but not a doctor. Now in most cases I've worked with, and had several friends and relatives with this, their symptoms started off about the same, and that was a mild pain. In most cases, it will be an uncomfortable type of pain, not so much intolerable, and it also may be difficult to feel exactly where you're hurting at until the pain actually localizes. In other words, it may feel like upper stomach pain, sometimes even pain in the back, etc. After several hours usually it will localize, meaning the pain will be more obviously in the area of your appendix ( the lower right quadrant of your abdomen) and this is usually pretty painful. Most people at this point, are unable to stand straight because it tends to hurt more when they stretch out. There is a diagram above of the how to test the Blumberg's Sign. If you apply pressure in that area with your fingers and there is a severe pain when you release the pressure, that is definitely a sign the doctors will look for as a positive appendicitis. Really, the only way to know for sure, is to go to the Doctor, and they'll run blood work to check your WBC (white blood count) because many times it will be elevated, and they may also do a cat scan. If you have concerns that it may be your appendix, it's best to have it looked at. If it's early enough, there may be a chance that a round of good antibiotics may help rather than surgery. All just depends. Hope that helps.
jordan on August 26, 2011:
So, kk i got a question?
So at first, when its just starts happening at the pains mild like just a little pain or are they very painful. The reason i ask is because i am a little not at all painful pain where the appendix is, and its not that painfull. I don't know if is a sign of appendix problems.
if u know plz info me thanks
maine on July 06, 2011: