Appendicitis is a medical condition characterized by an inflammation of the appendix. Of all of the potential symptoms, abdominal pain is the most commonly reported. This pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. Additional indicators of appendicitis may sometimes include constipation, back pain, or the development of a low-grade fever.
Abdominal pain is the most frequently reported of all of the potential symptoms of appendicitis. In the beginning, it may be difficult for the patient to describe one particular area where the pain originates. In most cases, the pain eventually moves to the lower right area of the abdomen, where the appendix is located. Many patients describe this pain as excruciating and far different from any pain that has been experienced before.
The abdominal pain may be soon followed by a decrease in appetite. This may be due to the extreme pain caused by this condition or by the extreme nausea that often accompanies the pain. Some patients may begin to vomit uncontrollably as a result of the intense nausea. This type of nausea is often the result of an intestinal blockage and should be considered a medical emergency.
Constipation is among the more common symptoms of appendicitis. A feeling of being bloated or gas-type pains are often present as well. In many cases, the abdomen will appear visibly swollen. A low-grade fever is one of the usual symptoms of appendicitis, although the fever may become quite high if the appendix ruptures.
If any of the possible symptoms of appendicitis are present, it is important for the patient to receive immediate medical attention. If the appendix ruptures, a potentially fatal infection could develop. Once at the hospital, doctors will likely order a few tests to determine the exact cause and severity of the symptoms. These tests often include a manual examination, blood tests to check for high white blood cell counts, and an x-ray or CT scan to determine whether the appendix is inflamed or has ruptured.
If the diagnosis of appendicitis is confirmed, the patient will likely be scheduled for immediate surgery to remove the inflamed organ. Depending on the severity of the condition, the patient may be able to return home the same day or may need to spend a few days in the hospital. Any questions or concerns about the possible symptoms of appendicitis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.