Chances are you’ve heard of the appendix- not just the book variety, but the organ as well. You’ve probably known someone who had their appendix removed, as often times it is not classified as a necessary organ. While this is true, it is important to note that if things go wrong with the appendix, that unnecessary, but harmless organ can become infected, having severe effects on your health. So what can you do? You may need to make lifestyle changes; you should also speak to a medical professional. First, however, before you panic, you need to make sure you’re well informed.
For starters, appendicitis is the term used to describe an appendix suffering from inflammation. Here is where the trouble starts. While inflammation itself is a ‘good’ thing, part of the body’s immune response designed to hamper infections, it can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Fever, another immune response, is also likely involved. If you have a case of appendicitis, chances are, your appendix is in danger, and you’ll need to take the steps mentioned above. Here are 11 symptoms which could indicate appendicitis, and therefore spell trouble:
Pain is the body’s universal signifier that something is wrong. it’s a pretty simple system most of the time: the worse the pain, the more serious the problem, though there are notable exceptions, such as paper cuts. When it comes to stomach pain, there are any number of causes- gas, and constipation, for one, but these themselves may be symptoms of a larger problem. If the pain travels in the direction of your lower right abdomen, then your appendix is likely the culprit, especially if it goes from dull to sharp. This is one of the clearest signs of an appendix problem.
You can’t mention chest pain and heart trouble without considering arm pain as well. Generally, arm pain is a side effect of chest pain, as the pain will radiate out into the left arm and sometimes even into the throat or jaw. Because arm pain can have many causes, it is not always associated with heart trouble. However, if a shooting pain in the arm is accompanied by other symptoms indicating heart trouble, or you tend to experience some of the other symptoms on this list, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
The pain may not start out particularly sharp. Most aches and pains we learn to live with, particularly as we grow older. Dull pains generally are overlooked, even if they happen to persist for a long while. However, this sort of thinking can at times lead people into serious trouble; they don’t get help when they first notice minor symptoms, and then an illness or an injury ends up growing much worse, complicating the treatment. In the case of appendicitis, the pain eventually builds to the point where movement and breathing becomes uncomfortable, and then painful, usually after twelve hours.
Nausea is another common symptom of appendicitis. Combined with the intensifying pain, this makes appendicitis a very uncomfortable condition. Nausea can bring on a sense of dizziness, as well as blurred vision, both of which can make moving around that much more difficult. It also may lead to confusion, which may result in further injury. Of course, it goes without saying that the potential to vomit is high. As you probably know, vomiting is often messy, very unpleasant and occasionally painful in and of itself. Nausea combined with pain is generally a good tip that you are suffering from appendicitis.
As mentioned earlier, fever may come with appendicitis. As part of the body’s immune response, the brain will gradually raise the temperature of the body in an effort to slow the growth of infectious agents so that the body’s defenses can take them down. While an effective strategy, fevers can also cause damage to the body itself, which is cause for concern. Fever itself is also an unpleasant sensation and can exacerbate any other symptoms. Cases of appendicitis can induce a low-grade fever in patients that reaches about 99 to 99.5 degrees; typically, the body stays at 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Everybody poops, but even so, we still don’t like talking about it. This is especially the case in regards to diarrhea. Diarrhea, like most of the other symptoms listed here, can be caused by other factors, but it is also a potential indicator of appendicitis. Ordinarily, diarrhea creates a sensation of incredible discomfort, and relief can generally be found when using the bathroom, or at least shortly after; in the case of appendicitis, however, diarrhea may be accompanied by a pain that lingers. If you are experiencing changes in your stool, namely, diarrhea, you may be suffering from appendicitis.
If diarrhea is porridge that is too hot, then constipation is the ‘too cold’ of the equation. Whereas diarrhea occurs when stool does not fully or properly form, constipation is stool that is too solid and too firmly packed to be voided properly. It is another potential symptom of appendicitis and can cause discomfort, or even pain in the stomach area. It may also be characterized by the need to go to the bathroom while being unable to do so. It could also be a fiber deficiency in your diet. You should check for other symptoms (they’ll likely be obvious).
>With the gas and the pain, you may also experience cramps if you are suffering from appendicitis. A cramp occurs when a muscle contracts, oftentimes very suddenly and involuntarily. It may lock in this condition, making it difficult to move the affected area. In the case of women, it is unfortunately not all that uncommon that their menstrual cycles will include very severe cramps, so this can sometimes mask underlying appendicitis. The location of the cramps can be an indicator of the cause, along with various symptoms. Generally, pain from appendicitis is more severe, covering more area than a cramp.
Feeling gassy rarely presents as a serious problem, which is part of why certain conditions, including appendicitis, can sneak up on those who have them. Gas can make you feel bloated, may be accompanied by a lot of burping and farting, but it seems more embarrassing than harmful. However, if gas is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, it could present a problem. Oftentimes, constipation or diarrhea that comes with appendicitis may also present with gas as well. As with the others, definitely consider all of your symptoms carefully to ensure you are not overlooking a serious illness.
Loss of appetite is generally among the first signs of a case of appendicitis. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the easiest to overlook, because in and of itself, it is not particularly serious, nor painful. As a matter of fact, it’s not particularly obvious either. It can be caused by a number of conditions, illnesses, and medications, some of which are chronic. All of this makes it difficult to peg appendicitis as a cause, even in the presence of other minor signs, such as gas. Sometimes the loss of appetite can lead to other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
While pain has been a recurrent topic of discussion throughout this article, painful urination takes the (urinal) cake. While other pains may be overlooked or ignored until they become intolerable, people are typically quick to notice urinal pain. Such pain often comes as a side effect of STD’s, which is likely the reason people are alarmed. In the case of appendicitis, painful urination can also be accompanied by the difficulty to urinate in the first place; doctors can rule out other potential causes with various tests, so it’s a good rule of thumb to get checked out if you can.
Abdominal tenderness is a symptom of appendicitis you may experience before pain. This is because of the body’s immune response, inflammation. It causes the affected tissue, in this case, the appendix, to swell, and this irritates the surrounding tissue. The added pressure of inflammation, and the presence of gas can create a rubbing pressure between tissues and generally irritate the entire region, making the lower abdomen generally sensitive to even the lightest of pressure. Because of this, tenderness may be among the earliest symptoms of appendicitis that you notice, and it may be aggravated by excessive movement or other factors.
Ultimately, while the appendix itself is not crucial to life, appendicitis is very serious. Appendicitis is caused by a blockage of your appendix. This allows it to become infected, thereby prompting the need for surgery to remove it. If the appendix happens to burst before it can be extracted, this will lead to a very serious infection that will spread throughout the body. If you are experiencing many of the aforementioned symptoms or even just one or two of the more serious ones, speak to a medical professional immediately.
A medical professional can do a physical exam of your abdominal and rectal muscles, along with performing blood tests, ultrasounds, or CT scans in order to clarify a diagnosis. Keep in mind, that appendicitis is not the only serious conditions that can generate the aforementioned symptoms. If it turns out you have appendicitis, you’re going to have to undergo surgery to have it removed. Fortunately, it is a rather common surgery that does not take terribly long to recover from; expect to be out of commission for no more than a week at maximum, provided there are no complications.