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Medical Emergency: Recognizing the Signs of Appendicitis

Last updated 4 years ago

Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit emergency rooms, and appendicitis is one common cause of this complaint. It occurs when bacteria enter the appendix and cause an infection. If this is left untreated, the appendix may become perforated and cause an abscess. The abscess may obstruct the intestines or rupture, sending dangerous toxins into the blood stream and leading to sepsis. Getting emergency care as early as possible helps to reduce the chances of appendicitis complications. If you experience the following symptoms, seek care at an emergency room to be screened for appendicitis.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of appendicitis, and it is the only symptom some people have.  At first, the pain may be diffuse and difficult to pinpoint. It may feel like you have generalized pain across the center of your abdomen. As appendicitis progresses and the infection spreads, the pain may become more localized in the area between the front of the right hip and the belly button. Pain in this region is a telltale sign of appendicitis. If the appendix ruptures, pain will become more diffuse again, as inflammation will spread throughout the abdomen.

Loss of Appetite

In early stages, loss of appetite is common with appendicitis. If the appendicitis is not treated, nausea and vomiting may also occur. Other intestinal symptoms may also appear, including constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. The longer appendicitis goes untreated, the worse these symptoms will become.

Low-Grade Fever

Fever accompanies appendicitis infections in some patients. It typically starts low and increases as the infection spreads. Fever is especially common when the appendix ruptures and a sepsis infection occurs.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of appendicitis. Get care right away in the emergency room at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. We have the emergency services required for all of your urgent health needs available 24 hours a day. For more information about our emergency services, call us at (888) 598-9586.


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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