Appendicitis pain


The appendix, or more precisely the appendix, is a short, thin section of the large intestine that is not necessary for the transport of the food. If this becomes inflamed, there is severe pain in the abdomen, which gets worse relatively quickly. Such appendicitis can be an emergency situation and in most cases requires surgical treatment.

The pain is therefore a serious warning from the body. Depending on the location of the appendix, the pain can occur in different places.

What pain does appendicitis cause?

Pain can be classified according to different aspects. One aspect is the duration of the pain and the onset. This is often relatively sudden in appendicitis. You can also classify the type of pain. These include persistent pain, colic pain and increasing pain. With appendicitis, as with most inflammations, increasing pain is the main focus.

When the appendix ruptures, there is often a brief peak of pain, then a pause and then relatively quickly even stronger pain due to peritonitis. The severity of the pain is also a way of classifying it. Those affected report very severe pain, while patients with other intestinal diseases usually report less pain.

The last important point in classifying pain is localization. In appendicitis, the pain usually starts around the belly button and moves to the right lower abdomen a short time later. An exact determination of the pain quality by the examining doctor can already contain a lot of information.

Read more about this under Ruptured appendix

Duration of pain in appendicitis

Appendicitis is usually an acute condition. The pain comes on relatively suddenly and gets worse quickly. In many cases, those affected go to hospital on the same day and can be treated. The pain does not subside on its own and will get worse until treatment is initiated. In appendicitis, wandering pains are typical, which are initially localized around the navel and then migrate to the right lower abdomen after a few hours.

Where exactly is the pain in appendicitis?

Most people have the appendix in the right lower abdomen. However, the pain often begins around the navel and does not migrate to the right lower abdomen for a few hours. The pain around the belly button is often mistakenly interpreted as stomach pain and can be accompanied by vomiting.

However, the location of the appendix can vary widely. Some people have the appendix a little higher and therefore the pain is higher. In rare cases, the appendix can even be in the left half of the body and thus result in a completely different pain picture. Certain movements and pressure on the abdomen can trigger or intensify pain. The position of the appendix can be changed, especially in pregnant women. In this case, the appendix is ​​moved to the right upper abdomen.

Children mostly report abdominal pain throughout the abdomen. Regardless of the location of the pain, however, if you experience sudden severe pain, go to a hospital, otherwise appendicitis can be dangerous.

How can the pain of appendicitis be influenced?

As with most pain, the person affected usually finds a position on their own in which the pain is more bearable. In the case of abdominal pain, it often helps to bend the legs a little, as this reduces the tension in the stomach. Certain movements can aggravate the pain, which is why the affected person refrains from doing this independently. With appendicitis, this often leads to a slight limp. A heat pad or hot water bottle can also help some sufferers. The pain will not go away with these measures, but will continue to increase.

What pain relievers can help with appendicitis?

Basically, in the case of appendicitis, pain therapy is not a complete treatment. Appendicitis is an emergency and the person should go to a hospital as soon as possible. Taking pain medication on its own can reduce the pain and make it more bearable, but this increases the risk of underestimating it and thus of treating it too late. In addition to the risk of underestimation, taking painkillers can also complicate the physical examination by the doctor. The initial clinical examination is often based on triggering certain pain points, which may then no longer be triggered. Pain therapy can be initiated in the hospital to bridge the time until the operation, which usually takes place the next day. Almost all painkillers up to opiates can be used here. The decision as to which drugs are used lies with the treating team.

What pain should one go to hospital with?

Pain is an important warning signal for the body to show that something is wrong in the body. Sudden, severe pain should always be clarified by a doctor. Since appendicitis can become life-threatening if treated too late, a hospital should be visited early and generously. The pain can be atypical, especially in children. A child with severe abdominal pain should be presented to hospital as soon as possible. Most adults can assess very well whether the abdominal pain has a normal cause, such as hunger or gas, or whether the abdominal pain is acute and different from other events. Even if appendicitis cannot be confirmed, severe pain must be clarified, as there are other acute diseases that require treatment that cause similar symptoms. If the pain is severe and you are unable to go to the hospital yourself, appendicitis is a reason to call the emergency services.

What other symptoms can appendicitis occur?

The severe pain is the absolute leading symptom in appendicitis. However, the pain is accompanied by several other symptoms. In many cases there is stomach pain with vomiting and a general feeling of illness. Loss of appetite is also typical.

A mild fever may also develop. Regarding body temperature, it is noticeable that the measured temperature in the armpit deviates from the temperature in the anus. This can amount to over a degree Celsius. The pain and the increased body temperature also lead to an accelerated pulse.

In rare cases, the ureters become inflamed, which can lead to blood-red urine. A few other symptoms are clinically recognizable.

The ultrasound shows an inflamed appendix as a target with several rings. Furthermore, the appendix is ​​significantly enlarged. The blood count shows increased inflammation values, such as CRP and the white blood cell count. The accompanying symptoms are very individual and can occur, but do not have to occur.

Is there also appendicitis without pain?

In some cases, appendicitis can be chronic and develop very slowly. Those affected often have significantly less pain. Acute appendicitis can be almost painless, especially in older people. In diabetes patients, sensory disturbances can also occur in the whole body, which means that serious illnesses hardly cause any pain. Lack of pain makes diagnosing appendicitis more difficult.

What can it be when the pain suddenly goes away?

If severe pain suddenly goes away, it may be because the cause was not appendicitis. Occurring and pausing pain usually speak more for ureteral stones. However, if it is appendicitis, a decrease after a peak of pain is a warning signal, as it can indicate a rupture of the appendix. In this case, the pain will become significantly worse again a short time later. This is an absolute emergency situation and the person concerned has to go to hospital.