What are common symptoms of appendicitis?
If you have appendicitis, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- pain around the belly button
- lower right side abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- inability to pass gas
- abdominal swelling
- low-grade fever
- a sense that you might feel better after passing stool
Appendicitis pain may start off as mild cramping. It often becomes more steady and severe over time. You may also feel a general pain become more targeted.
You likely won’t notice changes in your bowel habits. However, appendicitis can sometimes affect urination.
If you suspect you may have appendicitis, you should avoid taking laxatives or having an enema. These treatments may cause your appendix to burst if you’re experiencing appendicitis.
If you have tenderness on your right side along with any other symptoms, see your doctor. Appendicitis can quickly become a medical emergency.
Is back pain a symptom of appendicitis?
Appendicitis is primarily associated with stomach pain, but this pain can also be felt in your sides or back. Oftentimes, this pain will worsen if you move, walk, or even cough.
If you’re experiencing significant pain that doesn’t fade after 4 hours, you should see your doctor.
Are the symptoms of appendicitis the same in teens?
Although the symptoms of appendicitis are the same for adolescents as they are for adults, they may begin differently. In adolescents, appendicitis can begin as a vague stomachache near the navel. This pain may progress to the lower right side of the abdomen.
After this pain has appeared, you may:
- develop a fever
- lose their appetite
- feel nauseous
If you’re experiencing the above symptoms, you should see your doctor.
What causes appendicitis?
In many cases, the cause for appendicitis is unknown. There can also be multiple causes for one case of appendicitis.
Doctors believe an obstruction in the appendix may cause appendicitis. Obstruction may be either partial or complete. Complete obstruction is a cause for emergency surgery.
Obstruction is often due to an accumulation of fecal matter. It can also be the result of:
- enlarged lymphoid follicles
When there’s an obstruction in your appendix, bacteria can multiply inside the organ. This leads to the formation of pus. The increased pressure can be painful. It can also compress local blood vessels. A lack of blood flow to the appendix may cause gangrene.
If the appendix ruptures, fecal matter can fill the abdomen. This is a medical emergency.
Peritonitis is another possible consequence of a ruptured appendix. It’s an inflammation of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall. Other organs can also become inflamed after a rupture. Affected organs may include the cecum, bladder, and sigmoid colon.
If the infected appendix leaks instead of ruptures, it can form an abscess. This confines the infection to a small walled off area. However, an abscess can still be dangerous.