Signs and symptoms of appendicitis

Signs and symptoms of appendicitis

Do I have a bad case of gas or could I have appendicitis?

One of the first signs something isn’t quite right is a notable inability to pass or expel gas. You may feel bloated and as though gas is trapped in your body. This can cause mild discomfort and even indigestion.

You can seek relief with the use of over-the-counter medications to help alleviate discomfort relating to heartburn or digestive issues.

If you find the problem persists for longer than a day or you begin to experience pain that is highly uncomfortable or even unbearable, you should seek medical assistance and stop taking any pain-relieving medications or laxatives. If you note any other unusual discomforts or symptoms, book a consultation with your family physician (general practitioner) for a thorough check.

Young woman having stomach ache

General signs and symptoms of appendicitis

A typical signal that something’s not functioning as it should in your tummy area is pain (often described as a dull pain at first) in the lower right abdomen area. Pain can sometimes begin around the bellybutton (navel) and move downwards. Pain may begin as a mild cramp, but will intensify (or sharpen) as the inflammation of the appendix increases or worsens. Pain can also feel worse when you cough, walk or make any other sudden or jarring movements.

A pregnant woman may experience pain in her upper abdomen as the appendix shifts during pregnancy and is located a little higher.

It’s not just a temporary gas-related issue that will pass when you experience the following along with pain:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea and or/ constipation (sometimes with gas)
  • Cramps
  • Inability to expel gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of the abdomen or bloating
  • Difficulty passing urine or painful urination

Often, a person may feel that they need to encourage a bowel movement when any of the above-mentioned symptoms are experienced, and take laxatives or have an enema.

If you suspect appendicitis, this can be dangerous. If in fact you do have appendicitis, your appendix will quickly rupture (or burst) if these treatments are administered. Pain relievers and heating pads can also cause an inflamed appendix to perforate (burst).

How to recognise the signs of appendicitis in a young child

A young child may find it difficult to communicate what discomforts they are experiencing. As a parent, it is a good idea to be very aware of specifically what a child may experience and find difficult to describe to you.

A child may indicate that their bellybutton (navel area) is sore. You may note that a child reacts to pain when moving, coughing or sneezing by touching their abdominal area and showing signs of discomfort. Other flags to be aware of include the typical symptoms which all people (young and old) are likely to experience, as well as an elevated heart rate.

If your child displays signs of stomach pain with symptoms of fever, vomiting and a poor appetite, don’t hesitate. Book an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible. Within a 48-hour period, a child’s appendix is at high risk of bursting.

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