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Appendicitis: Learn the Warning Signs

Possibly, you might have heard of some horror stories about those who were in excruciating abdominal pain, then had their appendix burst because they waited too long. You are now wondering if the pain in your abdomen is caused by appendicitis.

At Physicians Premier, your Corpus Christi emergency room, we have the answers to your questions.

What is appendicitis?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 5 percent of the population develops appendicitis during the course of their lifetimes. Appendicitis is one of the most common causes for surgery. It is characterized by the inflammation of the appendix – the small organ in your body found on the right side of your abdomen.

What causes the inflammation? The appendix can sometimes have a blockage that causes its lining to become infected. If left untreated, the infection may spread and grow, and eventually, cause the organ to rupture.

Here are the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain in the center of the abdomen that eventually shifts to the right side
  • Pain that is similar to stomach cramps
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lack of appetite

How is appendicitis diagnosed?

The emergency physician will conduct a physical examination to identify the location of the pain. Expect to answer some questions such as where you first felt pain, when it started, and if the intensity or the area of the pain has changed.

Several tests may be required, such as a blood test to determine the white blood cell count, a urine test to rule out a urinary tract infection, an ultrasound or an X-ray to identify the affected area.

When should you seek medical help?

Get immediate medical attention at Physicians Premier, your Corpus Christi emergency room any time you experience severe or persistent abdominal pain. We can diagnose you quickly and take action to treat you, so feel free to come in as soon as possible. We would rather see you and discover nothing serious than have you wait too long and find that your appendix has already ruptured.

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