Appendicitis Emergency is a common but potentially severe condition that occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed. This small, tube-like organ is located in the lower right side of the abdomen and was believed to have once played a role in digestion. However, the appendix no longer serves a known function in the human body. It can be removed without causing harm. If left untreated, however, appendicitis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Let us explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for appendicitis and provide tips for preventing this condition.
What Causes an Appendicitis Emergency?
The exact cause of an appendicitis emergency is often challenging to determine, but it is thought to be caused by a blockage in the appendix, such as a hard piece of stool or other foreign objects. Appendicitis can be caused by various infections, such as those caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
When the appendix becomes swollen and sore, the blood supply to the organ is impaired, leading to tissue death. If the appendix bursts or develops holes or tears in its walls, it can release stool, mucus, and infection into the abdomen, which can cause a severe condition called peritonitis. (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
How Prevalent is Appendicitis?
According to National Library of Medicine, appendicitis is a prevalent medical condition that affects roughly 1 in every 1,000 individuals residing in the United States. It tends to occur more frequently among individuals between 10 and 30. Those with a familial history of appendicitis may be at a higher risk of developing the condition, mainly if they are male. Children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis also appear to be at an elevated risk for developing appendicitis.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
Abdominal pain is the first and most common symptom of an appendicitis emergency. It may begin in the lower right side of the stomach and spread to other areas of the abdomen, or it may begin around the belly button and move across. This pain becomes more severe and may be exacerbated by movement, deep breathing, touch, coughing, or sneezing. If the appendix bursts, the pain may be felt all over the belly.
Other common symptoms of appendicitis include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, chills, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty passing gas, and a swollen abdomen. It is important to note that pain medications may mask other symptoms and should not be taken. It is essential to see a healthcare provider to properly diagnose and treat appendicitis, as its symptoms may be similar to those of other health conditions. (Mayo Clinic)
Appendicitis is often challenging to diagnose because its symptoms can resemble those of other medical conditions, such as kidney stones, pneumonia, or a urinary tract infection. To determine if a patient has appendicitis, a physician may conduct a physical examination of the abdomen to assess for pain and tenderness. They may also order blood and urine tests and imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans. In some cases, it may be necessary for the patient to fast in preparation for potential surgical intervention. (Mayo Clinic)
Appendicitis in Children
Appendicitis is a condition that most commonly affects teenagers and young adults but can also occur in children. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 70,000 children in the United States are affected by appendicitis each year. The condition is often caused by an abdominal infection that has spread to the appendix or by a blockage. (Brogan)
Appendicitis is a severe medical emergency that requires prompt treatment. If you think you are having an appendicitis emergency, you need to head to the emergency room. The two main methods for removing the appendix are open surgery and laparoscopy.
Do not hesitate to visit us at Rice Emergency if you or your child are experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, as early treatment can help prevent complications and ensure a full recovery.
“Appendicitis (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Ryan J. Brogan, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2022,
Mayo Clinic. “Appendicitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2021,
Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Appendicitis.” Appendicitis | Johns Hopkins Medicine, 9 Dec. 2021,