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10 Warnings Signs Your Appendix Might Burst

| Reviewed By Sneha Krishnan

The appendix is a small pouch-like organ that is attached to your large intestine right at the junction between it and the small intestine. It is a vestigial organ in our body. Basically, the function of the appendix is unknown. According to a study, it was said that appendix is just a useless remnant from our evolutionary past.

And while most of us go through our entire lives without a single peep from it, in some of us (roughly 5 per cent of the world), it causes a severe medical emergency called appendicitis. When the appendix becomes blocked by mucus, parasites, foreign bodies, abnormal tissue growth (neoplasm), or faeces (a.k.a poop), it suddenly develops severe inflammation and gets infected in a very quick span of time [1].

That's when the first signs of appendicitis are observed in an individual. And if the person fails to report to a hospital quickly (within a few hours to days) when the signs show up, this inflamed organ tends to burst open within the abdomen, causing severe peritonitis (infection of the abdominal cavity) or causes gangrene followed by septicemia and death [2].

So if you observe any of these following signs, please report to the hospital closest to you immediately!

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1. Pain Around The Belly Button

The appendix is located in the lower right-hand side of our abdomen. And that's exactly where you will feel the pain caused by appendicitis.

It usually begins as a vague discomfort around your belly button, which quickly spreads to the lower right side of your abdomen (and sometimes areas of the other side as well).

The pain tends to increase when you walk, move your legs or abdomen, laugh, cough, sneeze, or even travel over a bumpy road [3].

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2. Rapidly Increasing Pain

The pain caused by appendicitis intensifies pretty quickly, sometimes in the span of just a few hours. The pain can be so severe sometimes that it can even wake up a person from a deep sleep.

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3. Fever, Chills & Shivering

On their own, these symptoms simply indicate that you have an infection somewhere in your body. But when they are seen in conjunction with severe abdominal pain, it is usually because of appendicitis [4].

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4. Nausea & Vomiting

Again, these symptoms simply indicate a case of a stomach infection. But if you continue to vomit for more than 12 hours, and have severe abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea, you should immediately go to the hospital because they could be symptoms of appendicitis.

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5. Loss Of Appetite

Loss of appetite combined with severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea (rarely) is a major sign that you have appendicitis. If you are having trouble passing gas, this may be a sign of a partial or total obstruction of your bowel [5].

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6. Confusion & Disorientation

If you seem confused or disoriented, then this means that the infection is getting worse. Hence, it expends a lot of body energy including resources like oxygen. In such a condition, the brain doesn't get enough oxygen and hence does not function properly.

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7. Diarrhoea & Constipation

While the exact nature of your bowel crisis depends solely on your physiology, if you have diarrhoea or constipation in conjunction with severe abdominal pain for over 2 - 3 days, then you might have appendicitis [6].

Presence of mucus in stool with pain in the lower right side of the abdomen is one of the major signs that your appendix may burst.

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8. Bloating & Gas

A bloated belly and a bad case of farting is nothing to be worried about. But if the bloating does not subside even after 8 hours of sleep, and continues to stay in place for the next few days (along with difficulty in passing gas), then you might have appendicitis [7].

This is usually accompanied by pain in your bowels (lower abdomen).

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9. Rebound Tenderness

This is a classic sign of appendicitis and is observed when you press the lower right side of your abdomen. On releasing the pressure, if there is pain, which is termed as rebound tenderness, then it is a sign you have appendicitis [8].

Note: DO NOT do this again as it can rupture your appendix. It is safer for this manoeuvre to be performed by a healthcare professional as too much or too frequent pressure might rupture your appendix.

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10. High WBC Count

Appendicitis is an infection. That's why if you get your blood tested during this time, you will observe an abnormally high white blood cell (WBC) count in your body. This is an indication that your immune system is on hyper-drive and is trying to fight a huge infection inside your body.

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On A Final Note…

If you see a few or all of these signs, then don't waste time with painkillers or home remedies for stomach pain. Go to the hospital immediately and get yourself checked by a doctor.

Also, there no cure for appendicitis. The only treatment is surgically removing the infected organ from your body before it is too late. Appendicitis can be managed with antibiotics depending on how early you visit your doctor (based on how bad the inflammation is). The definite treatment is surgically removing the infected organ especially under emergency conditions.

Sneha KrishnanGeneral Medicine
MBBS
Sneha Krishnan
Read more about: appendicitis appendix
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