Learn to Recognize the Signs of Appendicitis
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-like tube that extends from the large intestine. The function of the appendix, if any, remains unclear. Oftentimes, appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by stool or inflamed due to an infection (the appendix may swell in response to an infection located elsewhere in the body).
The most prominent symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain, which of course is very common and can have a variety of other causes. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if abdominal pain is related to something serious, such as appendicitis, or simply a result of gas, indigestion, constipation, or eating too much junk food.
The best way to find out exactly what’s going on is to consult with a physician. However, there may be some clues present that can help you recognize whether the problem is urgent. For instance, appendicitis pain usually begins with sudden tenderness around the navel. Then, within a few hours, the pain intensifies and migrates toward the appendix, which is located in the lower right abdomen.
Other common symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
If left untreated, a swollen appendix can potentially rupture and spread infection throughout the abdominal cavity. For this reason, appendicitis is considered to be a medical emergency. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment may involve a course of antibiotics taken to destroy or slow the growth of infectious bacteria, followed by surgery to remove the appendix.
The first step in managing appendicitis is to receive an accurate diagnosis. For that, you’ll need a prompt assessment by a trusted health care provider. If you’d like to see a physician, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary (if you are experiencing very severe pain, please proceed directly to the nearest emergency room).