Have you ever had a sharp pain in your stomach or side that lasted a little too long for comfort, making you concerned about the useless but very dangerous tiny organ attached to your large intestine?
Appendicitis is no joke – an inflamed appendix can rupture, causing sepsis and death within a very short period of time if left untreated.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of appendicitis can literally save your life or the life of someone close to you.
What Is Appendicitis, Anyway?
Before we talk about appendicitis, let’s touch on the appendix for a moment, one of the most useless parts of the human body.
The appendix is a little hollow organ attached to the large intestine. Despite the amazing medical advancements human society has made, no one is really clear on what exactly the appendix does.
Some theories include housing and maintaining good gut bacteria, providing a helpful role in immune functions, and more.
Appendicitis is when your appendix is inflamed and swollen. The small organ fills with pus and can eventually explode if left untreated. The solution to appendicitis is removing the whole organ.
You’ll be fine without it–the appendix doesn’t do anything, anyway.
What Are the Signs of Appendicitis?
There are some pretty major signs of appendicitis that, by themselves, can be confused with other things. When added together, though, you know there is an issue.
Pain in the lower right stomach, or near your navel that moves lower, is generally the first sign of appendicitis. If you’re not sure if this is normal stomach pain or appendix pain, try jumping up and down. Seriously! It’s called rebound pain, and if you experience a sharp increase in pain from slight movements like jumping or bouncing, it indicates there is an issue with the appendix.
Other signs to watch out for include a swollen belly, which indicates inflammation.
Loss of appetite or the inability to pass gas are also two major signs of appendicitis which should not be ignored.
A fever of over 99 degrees can also be a sign, as it shows your body is fighting off an infection.
Less common signs include severe cramps, painful urination, vomiting, especially right before you experience stomach pain, and dull or sharp pain anywhere in your upper or lower stomach, back, or rear. This “referred pain” isn’t common, but it does happen.
If you think you have appendicitis, you need to contact your doctor immediately! Untreated, this can be a life-threatening condition.