The Warning Signs of Appendicitis

Although some of the symptoms can be confused with other ailments, it's really important to know how to identify them and act quickly to prevent appendicitis from become peritonitis.

The appendix is a worm-like tube measuring about a half inch wide by 4-6 inches in length. It’s located at the beginning of the large intestine, at the bottom of the abdomen, in a region referred to as the lower right quadrant.

For a long time, this organ was thought to be useless as its function was not known beyond the damage to the health it causes when it becomes inflamed from appendicitis.

However, several studies have discovered that it possesses a type of immunological function as it forms a part of the lymphatic system, a network of lymph nodes with special vessels that transport lymph throughout the body.

The cause of the inflammation of the appendix is not known, but it is thought to be the result of a blockage by fecal matter, a foreign body, or in rare instances, a tumor.

What’s most worrying to health experts is that many people are not aware of warning signs of appendicitis, which leads to some cases only being detected after the disease has reached a very serious stage.

Remembering that early detection is key for treatment, we’d like to share the most important warning signs with you in this article.

Pain around the navel

One of the first symptoms experienced when the appendix is inflamed is a heavy sensation of pain around the navel or in the area known as the “mouth of the stomach” that’s often confused with a common stomach ache.

However, the pain is progressive and continuous to the point that the patient will realize that it is not a normal stomach ache.

It’s likely that the pain will intensify upon coughing or applying slight pressure.

To check for appendicitis, gently apply pressure to the painful area with the index and middle fingers for two minutes. If it’s appendicitis you will more than likely feel pain or respond with a scream.

Walking hunched over

When the appendicitis is acute, the person will generally walk hunched over and not be able to move well. When trying to walk erect, the pain intensifies and warns that something is not right.

The majority of people who have appendicitis prefer to rest in bed to relieve the pain.

Other tests consist of jumping or coughing to see if the pain intensifies. In fact, this is the first step doctors use to make a diagnosis.


Fever is the body’s immune response to different health problems and in this case, it should be considered a warning sign.

A normal body temperature ranges from between 95° to 98.6ºF. A rise in body temperature, along with the other symptoms, could be a signal that the appendix is inflamed.

Nausea and vomiting

As the infection progresses, the body presents more symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

However, as with the above case, both symptoms can also be the result of other health problems, as is the case with gastrointestinal diseases.

Changes in stool

Pain while defecating? The late symptoms of appendicitis can include changes like constipation or diarrhea, due to the inflammation in the digestive tract.

Loss of appetite

This symptom along with the others already mentioned can be a sign that something is going on in the appendix.

In general, affected persons have difficulties eating normally and the change can be so sudden that it will be obvious that it’s not a stomach infection or virus.

What are the complications?

Ignoring these warning signs of appendicitis can contribute to the disease’s progression and lead to a serious stage.

The worst complication is that the untreated inflammation can damage the organ and the infectious material can cause peritonitis, which can be fatal.

It can also lead to the formation of a fistula, an abscess or an infection.