Search

Appendicitis Center

Appendicitis Diagnosis

If you are experiencing abdominal pain, appendicitis may be the cause of your discomfort. However, the symptoms of appendicitis vary.  To help confuse matters, abdominal pain can arise from a number of health problems other than appendicitis.   The symptoms of an inflamed appendix can mimic other sources of abdominal pain such as:

  • Crohn's Disease
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Intestinal adhesions or obstruction
  • Inflammatory bowel syndromes, or IBS
  • Kidney stones
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease , or PID

So how do you know if appendicitis is the correct diagnosis for your abdominal pain, or not?

Doctors diagnose most cases of appendicitis by taking a medical history of signs and symptoms and performing a physical examination of the abdomen.  The classic symptoms of appendicitis usually present themselves during a physical exam.  When gentle pressure on the painful area is suddenly released, appendicitis pain will often feel worse. Other signs your doctor may look for include abdominal rigidity and a guarded muscle response to pressure over the inflamed appendix.

Doctors can also use laboratory and imaging tests to confirm appendicitis if you do not exhibit classic symptoms or cannot adequately describe symptoms.  Your doctor may recommend any of the following procedures:

  • Blood test  -  to check for a high white blood cell count, which may indicate an infection.
  • Urine test -  to make sure that a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone isn't causing your pain.
  • Abdominal X-ray - to help confirm appendicitis or find other causes for your pain
  • Ultrasound scan - to provide images of your internal organs
  • CT scan - to reveal other potential diagnoses if your appendix is not the source of your pain
  • Diagnostic laparascopy - to reveal other potential diagnoses if your appendix is not the source of your pain

If you suspect that you have appendicitis, call a doctor immediately. Don't take laxatives, use enemas or take any pain medications until your doctor sees you because these can cause the appendix to rupture.  Appendicitis is an emergency that must be treated surgically.   To learn more about treating this serious medical condition, read more about treating appendicitis now.

 

a doctor immediately. Don't take laxatives, use enemas or take any pain medications until your doctor sees you because these can cause the appendix to rupture. Appendicitis is an emergency that must be treated surgically. To learn more about treating this serious medical condition, read more about treating appendicitis now.

<< PREVIOUS:Symptoms
NEXT: Treatment >>