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Symptoms of Appendicitis

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 19 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Appendicitis Abdominal Pain Abdominal

The first sign and most common symptom, of appendicitis is generalised abdominal pain. However, since this painful sensation can be associated with other abdominal conditions and illness it is important to understand all of the signs and symptoms of appendicitis so that you can be ready to seek medical attention should the need arise.

Understanding and Recognising Appendicitis Symptoms

The main symptom, abdominal pain, of appendicitis is caused by the inflammation of the lining of the walls of the appendix. This pain is usually mild at onset and felt by the sufferer throughout the entire stomach area. It is during this period of development that appendicitis is usually misunderstood and mistaken for other non-serious stomach ailments such as upset stomach, indigestion, influenza, and digestion problems. In fact, the pain experienced during this period of the condition is usually so mild that individuals will take an antacids or other pain medication and try to sleep through the symptoms. When the pain worsens instead of clearing up most people realise their condition may be more serious.

As the irritation and inflammation progresses the pain becomes worse and a general swelling of the area may occur. The pain also becomes more localised during this period and is always experienced on the right side of the abdomen, usually between the navel and hipbone. Along with a localisation of the pain other symptoms begin to appear. These symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, and a sharp decrease in appetite.

If the condition is allowed to progress untreated the inflammation and swelling can lead to a rupture of the lining of the appendix and cause more serious symptoms and complications. These complications are mostly caused by the release of bacteria into the surrounding area upon rupture.

Does the Pain Point to Appendicitis?

Since the early symptoms of appendicitis, such as generalised pain and nausea, mimic those of so many other conditions numerous individuals do not choose to seek medical attention for their illness. However, since appendicitis can worsen and become serious quickly it is imperative that you have your symptoms checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Before making a diagnosis of appendicitis the doctor will rule out other, closely associated conditions. Some conditions that mimic appendicitis that may be at the root of your pain are gallbladder disease, ulsers, kidney disease, and diverticulitis. Due to the location of the organs affected by these conditions the pain is usually localised to the right side of the abdomen and mimics the onset of appendicitis. To help with an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will likely collect a detailed medical history and symptom description from you, as well as run a variety of blood tests, and perform an abdominal examination. In some cases x-rays may be taken or an ultrasound test performed.

Once a diagnosis of appendicitis is made a treatment plan of antibiotics and other medical measures can be started to reduce the infection and suppress the inflammation in the area. Once the condition is under control the pain will usually clear up quickly and the risk for rupture and complications is almost always eliminated.

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