Appendicitis Symptoms and Signs
Appendicitis typically begins with a vague pain in the middle of the abdomen
often near the navel or "belly button" (umbilicus). The pain slowly moves to the
right lower abdomen (toward the right hip) over the next 24 hours. In the
classic description, abdominal pain may be accompanied with
vomiting, lack of appetite, and
fever. All of these symptoms, however, occur in fewer than half of people who develop appendicitis. More commonly, people with appendicitis have any combination of these symptoms.
- Symptoms of appendicitis may take 4-48 hours to develop. During this time, a
appendicitis may have varying degrees of loss of appetite, vomiting, and
abdominal pain. The person may have
diarrhea, or there may be no change in bowel habits.
- Early symptoms are often hard to separate from other conditions including gastroenteritis (an
inflammation of the stomach and intestines). Many people admitted to the
hospital for suspected appendicitis leave the hospital with a diagnosis of gastroenteritis;
initially, true appendicitis is often misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis.
- Children and the elderly often have fewer symptoms,
or cannot adequately describe their symptoms, which makes their diagnosis less obvious and the incidence of complications more frequent.
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