Appendicitis: When should one seek medical advice?

By  , Expert Content
Jun 11, 2012

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Appendicitis is a common cause of abdominal pain and a common surgical emergency. Prognosis of people with appendicitis is good if they are diagnosed on time and operated. Delay in diagnosis can lead to complications such as rupture of appendix and other complications.

Consult your doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms suggestive of some significant medical problem.

  • Pain in abdomen, which is severe or increasing in intensity.Pain of appendicitis is usually located in the middle of the abdomen i.e. often near the navel or "belly button" (umbilicus), which slowly moves to the right lower abdomen (toward the right hip) over a few hours.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting (if it lasts for more than a few hours). It usually starts soon after abdominal pain).
  • Bloating or swelling of abdomen.
  • Fever (may be low grade or high grade--99° F to 102° F).
  • Inability to pass gas.
  • Pain during passing urine.
  • Change in bowel habits i.e. constipation or diarrhoea with gas.

If you have one or more of the above mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor. These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have appendicitis. Similar symptoms can occur in many other medical problems such as acute gastro-enteritis. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and start treatment accordingly. Aim of appendicitis treatment is to make an accurate diagnosis as early as possible and remove it surgically.

Who to consult

Health professionals, who can be consulted if you have symptoms of acute abdominal problem include

  • general practitioner,
  • family physician,
  • surgeon,
  • paediatrician,
  • nurse practitioner and
  • physician assistant.


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