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Understanding Appendicitis -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on July 20, 2019

What Are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

The classic symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Dull pain near the navel or the upper or lower abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen; this is usually the first sign, but it occurs in less than half of appendicitis cases.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Temperature of 100 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Constipation or diarrhea with gas
  • Inability to pass gas

In many cases, atypical symptoms appear, including:

  • Dull or sharp pain anywhere in the upper or lower abdomen, back, or rectum
  • Painful urination
  • Vomiting that precedes the abdominal pain

 

Call Your Doctor About Appendicitis If:

  • You have any of the symptoms listed above; acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that can be fatal. Prompt surgery is often essential. Do not eat, drink, or use any pain remedies, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads, which can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.
  • You have symptoms of appendicitis, but your appendix has already been removed; you may have a urinary tract infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, diverticulitis, a tubal pregnancy, gastroenteritis, or inflammation of your colon, called colitis or Crohn's disease, or colorectal cancer. Seek medical care immediately.

After an appendectomy, call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Continued pain in your abdomen
  • Dizziness/feelings of faintness
  • Blood in your vomit, urine, or stool
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Family Physicians. 

The Mayo Clinic. 

American College of Surgeons.

Merck Manual. 

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