The most common symptom of appendicitis, which is the inflammation of the appendix, is pain in the lower right side of the abdomen, in between the naval and pelvic bone. Such a symptom is important to note, since this condition can result in very serious infection if it remains untreated. Other symptoms usually accompany the inflammation, and knowing these symptoms can help a person determine when he or she should contact a medical professional.
Not all appendicitis will lead to life-threatening complications. But a patient cannot tell if it will resolve without medical treatment. It is better to err on the side of caution by seeing a healthcare provider if someone suspects appendicitis, as a professional can best determine what treatment should be undertaken.
Aside from pain in the lower right quadrant of the stomach, which will gradually worsen, those with appendicitis often have fever. The intestines can be affected as well, but often in different ways. Some have intense feelings of nausea and vomiting, while others may have constipation or diarrhea. Some may have both vomiting and diarrhea. Most people with this condition will not feel hungry.
The stomach may actually show signs of visible swelling. This is often an accumulation of gas, though it may indicate a swollen appendix. Most affected with appendicitis find they have difficulty passing gas, thus causing the distention of the abdomen.
An examination of someone with appendicitis will usually reveal more symptoms. For example, placing pressure on the appendix generally results in extreme pain. Children, however, may feel pain throughout the abdomen. In young children, it may be particularly difficult to achieve a diagnosis because the younger child may not be able to clearly articulate where the pain is felt most.
Usually an ultrasound of the abdomen confirms appendicitis, because the appendix is notably large in size. The concern with such swelling is that it can result in a burst appendix, which can spill bacteria into the rest of the abdominal cavity, causing very serious peritonitis that can result in death without treatment.
However, not all inflammation will result in a burst appendix. Some medical professionals now administer antibiotics when the appendicitis seems slight to see if a cure can be affected without removal of the appendix. When it seems severe, however, the appendix is removed to prevent peritonitis.
Those experiencing several of the above symptoms should contact a healthcare professional immediately. Only a medical professional can confirm appendicitis and the degree to which it may be dangerous to a person. A burst appendix is a far more difficult condition to treat than is inflammation in its early stages.