What Are The Symptoms?
- The very first symptom is abdominal pain. The pain is not contained to any particular area; it is spread around the lower right region of the abdomen. The intensity of pain may increase as the infection spreads. Such intense abdominal pain is sharper than the other normal abdominal aches one is used to.
- Another common symptom is nausea and/or vomiting as soon as the pain begins.
- A fever ranging from 99° F to 102° F is also common.
- Abdominal pain, cramps, tenderness and swelling are usual signs.
- Loss of appetite and diarrhea are also typical.
Other symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the upper or lower abdomen, back, or rectum
- Painful urination
- Severe cramps
- Inability to pass gas
All these symptoms are most likely to become more pronounced as time passes. You should remember that not everyone with appendicitis will necessarily have all the above symptoms. The age groups of children less than three years, and adults older than 60 years have a very high possibility of perforation (an advanced condition, explained in the next few pages), due to a delayed diagnosis. Although occurrence of appendicitis in children less than three years of age is rare, a few cases have been observed.
The stomach pain typically starts from around the belly button, moves downwards and towards the lower right region – this is the classic symptom. If you have these kinds of symptoms, always assume it is appendicitis until proven otherwise. Early symptoms of appendicitis are often confused and misdiagnosed with other conditions. At the same time, many people who get admitted to a hospital for appendicitis actually suffer from other stomach related conditions. The pain may increase as one coughs or sneezes. You will find that pain killers will not assuage or reduce the pain for long; it can be completely relieved only if it is medically treated. Even after surgical removal of the appendix, the pain may not immediately go away; this is because the surrounding structures may still contain inflammation. Hence, post surgery they need to be treated carefully with antibiotics.
Now the most important question; when should you go see the doctor?
- If you have pain as described above, temporarily stop food and liquid intake, do not medicate yourself with pain killers or laxatives (which will complicate the situation); immediately go and consult your primary care provider. Timely diagnosis and treatment will save your life.
- If the pain gets worse or unbearable across your stomach region and your temperature rapidly increases, it is most likely that your appendix has burst. You need to contact 911 immediately and rush to a hospital.