Diagnosing appendicitis can be difficult because many of the symptoms are very similar to other conditions such as an intestinal infection, gastritis and a urinary tract or bladder infection. Since many people who actually have appendicitis think they have a different ailment they often wait to see a physician and a timely diagnosis is key when dealing with appendicitis.
Classical Symptoms of Appendicitis
A dull pain that is located near the belly button and becomes more intense or sharp as it makes its way to the lower area of the right side of the abdomen is usually the one of the first classical symptoms of appendicitis to appear. Other common symptoms of appendicitis include difficulty with flatulence, sudden loss of appetite, swelling in the abdomen, nausea and or vomiting that starts when the pain starts and a fever (typically between 99F and 102F). About 50 percent of appendicitis patients will also have the following symptoms constipation and/or diarrhea accompanied by gas, dull sharp pains anywhere throughout the abdomen, rectum or lower back, pain when urinating and extreme cramps.
Once a patient presents symptoms of appendicitis it is important that doctors act quickly and perform the proper tests and examinations. The first thing that a doctor will do is ask the patient to describe their symptoms. Next, the doctor will do a urine test so that they can make sure the patient does not have a urinary tract infection. The doctor will also perform an abdominal exam to check for any inflammation. Next, the doctor will order an ultrasound of the area of the appendix as well as the lower right abdomen and some CT Scans. The doctor may also perform a rectal exam to check for any bleeding. Doctors will also have some blood drawn to check and see if the patient’s body is fighting an infection.
The most common treatment is a surgery, called an appendectomy, to remove the appendix. If the patient’s appendix has developed any abscesses, doctors will most likely remove those and then schedule another surgery to remove the appendix. Patients will also receive antibiotics prior to their appendectomies to help fight any possible peritonitis.
Mohan, V. (2008). Digestive Disorders Health Center: Appendicitis. Retrieved on December 26, 2008 from WebMD Website: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-appendicitis