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What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when there is inflammation (swelling) of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that projects from the colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. Appendicitis can happen to anyone, but most frequently occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30.

What are the symptoms of appendicitis?

  • Bloating in your abdomen
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain that increases if you walk, cough, or make other jarring movements
  • Sudden pain that begins around your navel (belly button) and usually shifts to the right side of your lower abdomen
  • Sudden pain that begins on the right side of your lower abdomen

How is appendicitis treated?

The standard treatment for appendicitis is removal of the appendix, or an appendectomy. You can continue to live a healthy life without your appendix. Your gastrointestinal (GI) surgeon may perform your appendectomy using one abdominal incision about two to four inches long (laparotomy), or your surgeon may perform the surgery through a few small abdominal incisions (laparoscopic).

Draining an Abscess
If your appendix has ruptured and an abscess (pocket of pus that can be infected) has formed around it, your GI doctor may recommend draining the abscess by placing a tube through your skin. An appendectomy will then be performed sometime after the infection is controlled, which can be up to several weeks later.

What are the tests for appendicitis?

Physical Exam
Your GI doctor will do a complete physical exam and gather your health history to diagnose appendicitis.

Blood Test
Your GI doctor may order a blood test to check your white blood cell count; a high white blood cell count can indicate infection.

Your GI doctor may order a urinalysis (urine test) to rule out a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stone that can cause similar pain and symptoms.

Imaging tests
Your GI doctor may recommend an abdominal X-ray, ultrasound, or computerized tomography (CT) scan to confirm your appendicitis or to find out what else is causing your pain.

Why choose UHealth?

A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.

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