appendicitis symptoms

The appendix?a pouch attached to the large intestine?has no real purpose. This organ often goes unnoticed unless it becomes blocked by feces, a tumor, or parasites and gets infected?a condition called appendicitis. The infection makes the appendix swell up and fill with pus. About 5 percent of Americans develop appendicitis in their lifetime.

Typical appendicitis symptoms are pain, nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, chills, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. The pain usually starts around the bellybutton, but it can spread to the lower right part of the belly and throughout the abdomen. The pain will likely worsen, especially when you exercise, take deep breaths, cough, or sneeze.

A number of other conditions can also cause these symptoms, which can sometimes complicate diagnosis. Constipation, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, which includes Crohn?s disease and ulcerative colitis), an intestinal blockage, and pelvic inflammatory disease all cause pain, nausea, and other appendicitis symptoms. Yet appendicitis is the most common cause of severe abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain, or any other appendicitis symptoms warrant a call to the doctor. The doctor will ask about these appendicitis symptoms, and may do blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to determine the cause.

Appendicitis needs to be treated quickly with surgery to remove the appendix. Otherwise, the appendix can rupture, spreading pus throughout the abdomen. If the appendix ruptures, appendicitis symptoms will lessen at first, but then they will worsen. Some people develop a pocket of infection in the abdomen called an abscess. A ruptured appendix is life threatening. It requires immediate surgery to remove the burst appendix and clear any pus or drain the abscess.

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