Experiencing a horrible stomach ache or intense abdominal pain is never a good time. Doubled over in pain and unsure if you are experiencing a bad case of food poisoning or something more severe like appendicitis is frightening and warrants a call to your doctor.
Appendicitis is notoriously painful and can rapidly become a life-threatening medical emergency if you do not seek treatment quickly. One out of twenty people in the United States has an appendectomy at some point during their lifetime1. The most common age group affected by appendicitis is children ages 10 to 19, and it is also the most common reason for emergency surgery in children2. Having a family history of appendicitis may raise your risk, especially if you are a man.
Appendicitis happens when the inside of the appendix becomes blocked. Appendicitis can be caused by various infections in the digestive tract, such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Appendicitis can occur when the tube that joins the large intestine becomes blocked or trapped by stool. The blood supply to the appendix is limited as the swelling increases. Without enough blood flow, the appendix begins to die.
When to seek treatment:
- Sharp pain, mainly around the belly button or in the lower right part of the belly (the pain might come and go at first, then grow steady and intense)
- Loss of appetite with nausea or vomiting
- Lack of energy
- Inability to pass gas
- Diarrhea (minimal amounts, with mucus)
- Swollen belly
- Pain grows more intense with time
Signs the appendix has burst is pain that spreads across the stomach accompanied by a high fever reaching up to 104 degrees. Doctors refer to ruptured appendix as a serious health risk and require immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid appendicitis but knowing the warning signs can prevent a life-threatening emergency.
If experiencing any symptoms of appendicitis listed above, contact Dr. Ahmad or go to your hospitals emergency room.
Dr. Arif Ahmad specializes in laparoscopic robotic surgery and has performed over 2,000 laparoscopic robotic surgeries. He is renowned in the Long Island area for his impeccable track record of safety and success.