Is It Appendicitis or Just a Stomach Ache

You feel a sharp pain in your stomach, and you immediately suspect it’s appendicitis. But then again, it might just be a stomach ache or one of many conditions, such as kidney stones or a hernia. Here’s what you need to know about appendicitis.

What Is Appendicitis?

The appendix is a small organ attached to the right side of your large intestine. Appendicitis occurs when this organ experiences a blockage, leading to inflammation and pressure. The usual treatment is an appendectomy, removal of the appendix. If left untreated, it could burst, infecting other areas of the abdomen and leading to a life-threatening condition known as peritonitis.

Symptom Similarities

Appendicitis shares symptoms with a general stomach ache, bug, or digestive condition. These include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Other shared symptoms include abdominal swelling, a low-grade fever, feeling the need to relieve discomfort with a bowel movement, or the inability to release gas.

Symptoms Specific to Appendicitis

The difference between appendicitis and other stomach ailments usually lies in the type of pain you experience. Seek emergency medical assistance if your pain:

  • Starts near the belly button and spreads to your lower right side.
  • Worsens over the course of mere hours.
  • Worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing, or breathing.
  • Is unlike any pain you’ve felt before.
  • Occurs suddenly and before any other symptom.

These could indicate a problem with your appendix. It’s important to keep in mind that symptoms vary from person to person and only a doctor can diagnose you. If you experience any symptoms that cause concern, visit your healthcare provider, call 911, or go to your preferred ER.

Locate your nearest emergency room so you know where to go when minutes matter. CHI St. Luke’s Health has many hospital-affiliated community emergency centers located throughout the Greater Houston area for your convenience.

NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine | Appendicitis
NIH NIDDK | Symptoms & Causes of Appendicitis

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