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Know the Signs of Appendicitis

Feb 12, 2021

Imagine this—you’re going about your day, working, exercising or spending time with your family, when all of a sudden you feel a sharp, stabling pain in your abdomen. You’ve been a little nauseous all day, and you haven’t felt hungry. Maybe you ate too much at your last meal? Or maybe you have appendicitis.

These are all signs that you have appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix—a small, pouch-like organ attached to the large intestine. Appendicitis may occur when there is a blockage in the appendix caused by an infection or trapped stool. If you have appendicitis, you’ll likely experience symptoms such as:

  • Sharp, sudden pain in your abdomen, the most common symptom, which will start near your navel and make its way down and to the right, getting worse over time.
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Feeling unable to pass gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever or chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling in your abdomen

Signs of trouble

If you have appendicitis, you need emergency care. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix could rupture and put you at risk for peritonitis—a condition that occurs when the tissue that lines your abdomen becomes inflamed due to infection—and death if the infection reaches the blood stream.

Thankfully, when treated properly, most patients who have the appendix surgically removed go home the next day and are feeling back to their old selves within a week or two.

Patient results may vary. Consult your doctor about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1.