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Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis

Appendicitis is the result when the small 2 inch appendix tube which opens into the beginning of the large intestine becomes inflamed.  It typically occurs between the ages of ten and thirty.  It is the most common cause for major abdominal surgery in children.  It is usually caused by a blockage of a small hard lump of fecal matter.  The blockage stops the natural flow of fluids, and unfriendly bacteria begin to multiply.  This causes pain and inflammation.  We have listed the common signs and symptoms of appendicitis below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis include:

  • Constipation
  • The inability to pass gas
  • Low grade fever
  • Central abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Rebound tenderness in the abdomen
  • Pain which shifts to the lower right side of the abdomen
  • Stabbing pain in the lower right side of the waist
  • Pain which gets progressively worse over a period of hours
  • Tenderness that occurs when you apply pressure to the lower abdomen
  • Pain that worsens if you move around

Approximately one in 1,000 people have the appendix on the left side of the abdomen.  So if the above symptoms are present but they are on the “wrong” side of the body, seek medical help regardless!  A delay in seeking medical help for the signs and symptoms of appendicitis can cause the appendix to burst, which is a serious medical emergency.  All cases of appendicitis are treated as medical emergencies, and all cases of appendicitis require surgery.

Diagnosis of Appendicitis

It is difficult to make a diagnosis of appendicitis, since the signs and symptoms of appendicitis are similar to the signs and symptoms of many other conditions, including gall bladder disease, Crohn’s disease and gastritis.  A medical practitioner will do a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests and possibly a CT scan or an ultrasound to rule out other conditions.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Appendicitis

Appendicitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments
William L. Ryan
The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Appendicitis: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age
Icon Health Publications
Appendicitis – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
Health Publica Icon Health Publications
John Henry Tilden

Appendicitis Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)

Information on appendicitis from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • E Health Forum

Appendix and appendicitis forum.

  • Better Medicine

Acute Appendicitis Information including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, causes, videos, forums, and local community support.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers signs, symptoms, causes, treatment of this painful appendix inflammation.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, rsik factors, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.