Appendix Pain – Symptoms, Causes, Location and Treatment

Are you lately suffering from an acute abdominal pain that just refuses to go away despite popping gas tablets? Watch out! Your appendix pain may be a sign of something more serious to come.

Appendix Pain

The Appendix is a small finger-shaped pouch that is attached to the large intestine. The appendix location is in the lower right area of the abdomen. If you have pain in this area of the stomach, you may be having an appendix pain. About 7% of the population in Western countries suffers from Appendix Pain at some point during lifetime. Depending on the nature and duration of the attack, Appendix Pains are classified into Chronic Appendix Pain and Acute Appendix Pain.

Appendix Pain may be a sign of Appendicitis, a severe disease that leads to inflammation of the appendix.

Appendix Pain in Children

In children, appendix pain usually arises due to Appendicitis. Affected kids generally suffer from painful sensations in the area of the abdomen around the belly button. The pain may shift to the lower-right section of the abdomen but may also originate in the lower right-hand corner.

The painful sensations generally increase in severity with the passage of time. Aches may worsen with movement and activities like coughing, sneezing or taking deep breaths. This may be accompanied by other problems like chills, fever, behavioral changes, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea.

In case of a rupture of the appendix, pain may spread throughout the abdomen.

Appendix Pain in Adults

In adults, pain in the appendix region is usually manifested by the following symptoms:

  • Aches originating around the navel and often shifting to the lower right abdomen
  • Acute pain in the right abdomen when the area is touched
  • Increase in the intensity of painful sensations over a period of several hours

The location of the pain may vary according to the age of sufferers and the position of the appendix.

Appendix Pain Symptoms

Appendix Pain is associated with a number of other symptoms as well. These include:

Tenderness

The sufferer often feels tenderness while touching the affected area of the abdomen.

Nausea

The affected person often suffers from nausea and a vomiting sensation. If the person experiences pain first and vomits later, it may be a case of appendicitis. If it is the other way round, there may be some other disorder at work.

Sudden Pain

The abdominal pain appears suddenly in many sufferers. In some cases, there is a shifting of the pain from one side of the abdomen to the other. This may cause much suffering in the patient.

Indigestion

The condition often brings about digestion problems in the sufferer.

Bowel Problems

Many people with appendix pain can suffer from stomach ailments like diarrhea or constipation.

Anorexia

There may be a loss of appetite which makes the person suffer from anorexia, or eating disorder.

If the condition complicates, the appendix may suffer a tear. The person may experience severe abdominal pain when this happens.

Appendix Pain Causes

The pain in appendix may be due a number of reasons that can be attributed to a disorder in the system. These include

Appendicitis

Appendicitis
Picture 1 – Appendicitis
Source – howshealth

It is one of the prime causes of appendix pain. A swollen appendix leads to Appendicitis. It can cause pus accumulation and tearing in the appendix which can cause acute stomach pain in the sufferer.

Blocking of the Cecum

cecum
Picture 2 – Cecum Structure
Source – toilet-related-ailments

If the stool becomes too hard, it may block the cavity into which the intestine opens. This can cause pain because of inflammation or infection in the abdominal area. This is what causes Appendicitis in most cases.

Infection

An infection in the gastrointestinal tract can make the lymph tissue swell and get enlarged causing stomach pain.

Bowel Disease

Bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can also lead to appendix pain.

Trauma

Sometimes, a stress or trauma in the abdominal region can also bring about pain.

Appendix Pain and Appendicitis

Lots of people wonder if appendix pain is a sign of appendicitis. The answer is no. Not all cases of appendix pain can be attributed to appendicitis. However, you can be more or less sure of having appendicitis if your appendix pain involves symptoms like :

  • Pain around the belly button area
  • Nausea
  • Shifting pain around the navel to the upper right abdominal region
  • Pain followed by vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

These are regarded as the surest signs of Appendicitis. Sadly, only half of Appendicitis patients experience clear symptoms of appendicitis such as these. This is why; it becomes difficult to detect the condition from the beginning.

Appendix Pain Location

appendix locationlocation of appendix pain
Picture 3 – Appendix Location                       Picture 4 – Location of Appendix
Source – Steadyhealth                                        Source – bmihealthcare.co.uk

Appendix Pain normally shifts from one part of the abdomen to another. However, the pain may originally arise in the middle region of the upper abdomen. It may also originate in the umbilical area.

Treatment for Appendix Pain

Mild cases of Appendix pain may be treated with medicines. In some cases, complete bed rest is needed to counter the ache.

If the sufferer feels a steadily deteriorating appendix pain, he or she should immediately seek medical attention. Doctors carry out a diagnosis of the condition by physical observation of the patient and perform tests like CT (Computed Tomography) scans of the abdomen and pelvis to check the cause and gravity of the condition. In case the pain is not treated in time, it may lead to a rupture in the appendix and cause infection and shock. It can even cause death of the sufferer. It may also lead to severe complications like acute appendicitis and may involve Appendix surgery. Appendix removal is the main aim of such operations.

surgery of appendix
Picture 5 – Appendix Surgery (Removal through mouth)
Source – gearfuse

Appendicitis is usually treated with surgery. Doctor’s recommend Appendectomy, or appendix surgery, whenever they detect a possibility of an appendix infection. However, surgeons may prefer to administer intravenous antibiotics in some cases and observe the patient’s condition for a day or two. Antibiotics are used to treat infection through non-surgical means. A liquid diet is also prescribed to the patient to reduce infection.

Chronic Appendix Pain

If you suffer from a recurring pain in appendix, you are possibly suffering from a chronic case of appendix pain. This may be due to chronic appendix inflammation. Doctors normally treat this with powerful antibiotic medicines. If medications fail to treat the condition, a surgical removal of the appendix may be carried out.

Appendix pain may be due to a number of factors. But it is commonly an indicator of grave disorders like Appendicitis. If you have an acute abdominal pain that lasts for more than 2 hours, it may be a time to seek immediate medical assistance. As we have said, timely medical treatment can help you prevent further complications and even death. So it is very important that you treat your appendix pain as early as possible.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/appendicitis/DS00274/DSECTION=symptoms

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/appendicitis/

http://www.healthhype.com/appendix-pain-location-and-symptoms.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/chronic_pain/page8.htm

Published on November 24th 2010 by  under Digestive System.
Article was last reviewed on 4th July 2013.

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