How to Know it’s Appendicitis
Appendicitis should be treated very seriously and warrants an emergency trip to the doctor’s office.
To diagnose the condition, your doctor may ask for:
- A blood test, to look for infection
- A urine test, to detect infection of the kidneys or bladder, as well as appendicitis-related proteins.
- MRI, CT, or ultrasound scan to create a 3-d model of your appendix and look for inflammation.
Appendicitis treatment consists of antibiotics as well as the surgical removal of your appendix.
If the appendix does rupture, the remnants will be removed and the pus is vacuumed out of the abdominal cavity. The doctor will also likely leave a drainage tube in the abdomen for a few days after appendicitis surgery to remove any fluid (5).
Appendicitis can happen at any time, but it most often occurs between the ages of 10 and 30. It’s also more common in men than in women.
9 Signs of Appendicitis
Even though appendicitis is incredibly common, the condition isn’t straightforward to diagnose.
In fact, appendicitis can easily be confused with something else, such as (6):
- severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- bladder or urine infections
- Crohn’s disease
- pelvic infection
It’s also notoriously hard to diagnose in children and pregnant women because the signs of appendicitis can mimic other conditions, like childhood infection and pregnancy symptoms.
Here are a few of the more straightforward symptoms.
1. Progressively Worsening Pain
Infection and inflammation rarely occur without the presence of pain, so it’s only natural that abdominal pain is the first signs of appendicitis on this list.
Appendicitis pain may start in the middle of your abdomen, near your belly button.
Appendicitis typically involves a gradual onset of dull, cramping, or aching pain throughout the abdomen. As inflammation sets in, your appendix will start to irritate the lining of the abdominal wall (peritoneum).
As the infection develops, you might even feel a sharp pain in the lower right side of your abdomen.
If you are born with an appendix that lies behind the colon, appendicitis will likely cause lower back pain or pelvic pain.
2. Pain from Coughing
The abdominal pain mentioned above should increase when moving, taking deep breaths, coughing, or sneezing.
It’s one of the most obvious early signs of appendicitis.