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Pinpointing Pain from Appendicitis

Pain in your belly is the main symptom of appendicitis, which is the medical term for an infected or inflamed appendix. The pain that comes from appendicitis often starts suddenly and progresses rapidly. You will notice that it will get worse whenever you move, sneeze, cough, or take a deep breath.

If you experience pain in your entire belly, or if your pain starts near your belly button and spreads to your lower right side, you may have appendicitis. Appendicitis can be life threatening because an inflamed appendix can rupture. For this reason, it’s critical for you to seek immediate medical attention or call 911 if you believe you have appendicitis.

At Dignity Health St. John's, our team of emergency care doctors provide care for appendicitis. 


Relieving Appendicitis Symptoms at Dignity Health St. John's

Your appendix is roughly 3- to 6-inches long. It can be found in the lower right side of your belly — where the small intestine and large intestine connect. The role of your appendix is not completely understood. It’s possible that it assists in fighting infection, though the appendix is not a necessary organ.

In addition to pain in the belly, other signs and symptoms of appendicitis include vomiting and nausea, bloating, chills, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, and being unable to pass gas.

Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of appendicitis, so they can run diagnostic tests.


Appendicitis Causes

Your appendix opens into the large intestine or colon. Most cases of appendicitis are the result of trapped stool, mucus, or foreign body that block the opening.

An appendix that is obstructed becomes inflamed, irritated, or infected. Contaminated contents from this organ can leak into your abdominal cavity if your appendix ruptures. This becomes a medical emergency because it can result in a severe infection called peritonitis.


Treatment Following an Appendicitis Burst

Your team of Dignity Health Central Coast experts will determine your treatment for appendicitis, depending on whether or not your appendix has burst. An appendix that has become inflamed can rupture as soon as 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms. Due to the high risk of rupture, immediate surgery is the typical treatment for appendicitis to remove your appendix.

If your appendix has already burst, our doctors typically proceed with surgery to remove the appendix and clean out your belly. Not recognizing appendicitis prior to an appendix burst tends to be more common among very old or very young people, as well as pregnant women.

Your team of Dignity Health St. John's providers will be with you during your appendicitis pain, recovery, and healing. Find a Doctor online following your emergency room visit to receive personal care for every stage of your life.