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Appendicitis - how do you know it's not it?


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#1 Cherrie

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 09:17 AM

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Typical symptoms of (accute) appendicitis: http://www.mayoclini...0274/DSECTION=2Please note that it usually takes only 12 to 48 hours for the pain in upper stomach or around the navel to move and localize in the lower right abdomen, and it *stays* there without moving around anymore. And note that appendicitis has other accompanying symptoms that are listed on the Mayo Clinic page.In some really really rare cases, the following people may not have their pain located in the typical lower right: (1) children; (2) elderly people; (3) pregnant women; and (4) people whose appendix is not located in the lower right. But one thing is for sure, once localized, appendicitis pain won't move around like IBS pain.Also worth-noting is that the longest time that I am aware of before accute appendicitis becomes fatal (i.e., the appendix burst, and abdomenal cavity lining infected, which eventually leads to lethargy, abdomenal numbness, etc) is 2 weeks. So if your lower right pain has persisted for a longer time, then it's most probably not your appendix.----------------------------------------------------I am also aware that there could be "chronic appendicitis," which reportedly doesn't have any other noticeable symptom other than abdomenal pain that's on and off but never goes away. I have yet to find a good website explaining this. I have personally experienced this, too, before mine flared up and became accute -- I remember having a dull ache around my navel and then it switched on and off. Then after a few days it began to localize and I began to have lower ab aches (mild, on and off, ranging from pretty noticeable to not very much so, none unbearable though). At the time I did not make the link between this and appendicitis and had myself go through all gynechological tests I knew and found nothing, lol. And in my case and for many people, this would eventually flare up and surgery would become necessary.One important thing about chronic appendicitis is, however, there is no report to my knowledge of patients being constipated or having diarrhea when it's still "chronic." If later on when it develops further even silently, people usually have nausea or vomitting accompanied by fever and then they become unable to pass gas (indicating an obstruction). But they won't have C or D or gas problems.So if you have other typical IBS symptoms, then you probably don't have to worry about this, either.------------------------------------------------------Hope this'll ease some of the worries...Cherrie
Let your love flow outward through the universe, to its height, its depth, its broad extent - a limitless love, without hatred or enmity. Then as you stand or walk, sit or lie down, as long as you are awake, strive for this with a one-pointed mind; Your life will bring heaven to earth. -- Sutta Nipata


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#2 Pooped

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 09:37 PM

When I had appendicitis I remember one other distinct pain besides the pain in the right side. My right shoulder hurt too. Aside from other diagnostic measures, the doctors were certain it was appendicitis because of the right shoulder pain. Also, mine came on in a full blown attack, I awoke in pain so intense, I could not breathe. My sister was sleeping in the bed right next to me and I couldn't even speak to wake her up to get help. That night, my appendix was removed.

#3 Mom

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 08:10 PM

when in doubt, have it checked out. don't fool around with the appendix. My son had the chronic, no fever. we were told it was ibs--he got really sick and we ended up doing exploratory surgery--they took his appendix and "unexplained scar tissue". The surgeon said he must have had aan appendictis that went undiagnosed--NOW we are told he has ibs due to an acute infection--we are going to Mayo clinic. good luck and hope you feel better.

#4 SJ1985

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:12 AM

Gosh, this topic is a HUGE relief, haha.

But one thing is for sure, once localized, appendicitis pain won't move around like IBS pain.

The best news I've heard in 3 years. Well, except for maybe the recent US Election. :( So basically, an appendix infection or whatnot, whether chronic or accute, would not cause these pains which also occur randomly in the left side?

Also worth-noting is that the longest time that I am aware of before accute appendicitis becomes fatal (i.e., the appendix burst, and abdomenal cavity lining infected, which eventually leads to lethargy, abdomenal numbness, etc) is 2 weeks. So if your lower right pain has persisted for a longer time, then it's most probably not your appendix.

So 3 years pretty much counts me out, then. But what of this "grumbling"/chronic appendicitis deal?

One important thing about chronic appendicitis is, however, there is no report to my knowledge of patients being constipated or having diarrhea when it's still "chronic." If later on when it develops further even silently, people usually have nausea or vomitting accompanied by fever and then they become unable to pass gas (indicating an obstruction). But they won't have C or D or gas problems.

This is certain? Because that's even better news than the last lot... If you can confirm this, it's full reassurance for me and I can relax... Heh. :) I can live with my IBS. I've learned to. I can live damn happily. But what I can't live with is the recurring fear of being rushed to hospital in agonizing pain when I could stop it. I kept feeling like my doctors were ignoring the possibilities of "chronic" appendicitis because it's all contraversial and everything.http://www.irritable...o...in From IBS^ Can anybody confirm if this page is reliable?

Where do people most commonly get pain caused by IBS?The pain is usually in the abdomen, mostly in the lower right corner, which your doctor will call your ‘right iliac fossa’. This is where the caecum – the first part of the large bowel – is found. The small intestine opens into the caecum, and the caecum is frequently distended. This is probably why it is a common site for pain. The nine regions of the abdomen: Right Left hypochondrial hypochondrial Right Left lumbar lumbar Right Left iliac fossa iliac fossa. Almost as frequent is pain in the left lower corner, the left iliac fossa. This area overlies the sigmoid colon, just above the rectum. It is here that you hold your stool prior to defecation. This area often goes into spasm, and often becomes distended as a result of constipation.

Because, er, this describes the EXACT thing that I get, I mean it's an absolutely perfect description of my problem when it's at it's worst, but no doctors have told me that low right pain is common, etc.

#5 Cherrie

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 04:57 PM

Hi SJ :-)Sorry you're so scared. I understand. Before I start answering your questions, I need to say that "chronic appendicitis" is very rare and is generally not life-threatening even IF one has it. Now to your questions --

So basically, an appendix infection or whatnot, whether chronic or accute, would not cause these pains which also occur randomly in the left side?

No, appendicitis pain, once moved down from the first phase of very intense pain in the upper stomach, is always where the appendix is. And also, many dr.s use this method to test -- they press on the lower left ab and then move their hand away very suddenly: if one has appendicitis, then one will most likely not feel painful when the area is pressed on, but experience intense pain the moment the dr.'s hand is suddenly removed from the area. For IBS and IBD patients, they feel painful when the dr. presses on a spot along the colon where the pain happens to be. I have both read from expert writings and experienced this difference first-hand.

So 3 years pretty much counts me out, then. But what of this "grumbling"/chronic appendicitis deal?

Yes you are right -- you cannot have survived if you had appendicitis and feel as painful as you have for so long. The "grumbling" is not an appendicitis symptom -- it sounds like trapped gas. And yes, I am certain that appendicitis patients don't have chronic C or D because of their appendix being bad.

Because, er, this describes the EXACT thing that I get, I mean it's an absolutely perfect description of my problem when it's at it's worst, but no doctors have told me that low right pain is common, etc

Basically, the small intestine and the colon are joined together from the lower right. And then the colon runs up and bends under the lower edge of the right rib cage. Then it runs across the navel and bends under the lower edge of the left rib cage. Then it runs down the lower left. Then at the lowest area of the abdomen it bends again towards the middle and joins the rectum (which is in the middle of the lowest part of the ab). So, it is actually not that surprising that people (esp. those who tend to get C) feel lower right pain due to IBS, because that's where the intestines have to push the waste hard upward. The bends and the navel are all the places where people tend to have trouble.Actually, the typicality of "lower left pain" of IBS/IBD is not that accurate, or at least stratified statistically by ethnicity. For example, I've read a study that says that Asians tend to have more lower right pain than lower left, and Caucasions tend to have lower left pain. But this is of course only statistics that could show a general trend -- with each individual, these stats may not be that meaningful, so one can be a Caucasion and have lower right pain, etc.So, from your description, I really feel that you don't have chronic appendicitis -- there is really nothing that flags me. If you continue to have these anxiety issues, you might want to bring this up to your dr. and see if they can get you something to at least take the edge off. Hope you feel better soon :(CherrieP.S. -- Please refer to Jeff's thread on When the Pain is Serious for the most accurate info on when to consult a dr. for pain: http://www.ibsgroup....showtopic=89786
Let your love flow outward through the universe, to its height, its depth, its broad extent - a limitless love, without hatred or enmity. Then as you stand or walk, sit or lie down, as long as you are awake, strive for this with a one-pointed mind; Your life will bring heaven to earth. -- Sutta Nipata

#6 SJ1985

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:35 AM

Wonderful post, thank you Cherrie, you're a saint.I only get the anxiety every now and again, but I did speak to a specialist about it who gave me a list of people I can contact. I may get in touch with one in the new year...Thanks for explaining where the large intestine goes. You see so many diagrams but it can be hard to distinguish where exactly it is in relation to the body - I had previously pictured the colon to go much higher than that, above the navel, etc. But now you explain it it makes perfect sense why I get pains in the navel etc.The reason I often let low right pain worry me is because I know that the bowel stops there and sometimes the pain is much lower than the bowel even reaches on that side, though a quote from that website:

IBS pain can occur anywhere between the nipples and the thighs, front or back.

Makes me feel a lot more at ease with it. There are certain things like groin pain and such which some doctors will say are an IBS symptom and others won't... I guess this is all because of how little our condition is understood still.So, Chronic Appendicitis shouldn't be a thought which even enters my mind... Something so rare which my symptoms would be presenting so atypically when IBS is so common and my symptoms are so typical of...Thanks again for your help.

#7 Fullograce

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 04:40 AM

I feel the need to comment on this...I was misdiagnosed for more than 2 years. I was medicated for IBS and felt like a zombie. I had flare up after flare up; I was getting "flare ups" every 6 - 8 weeks. I would wake up in the wee hours with extreme stomach pain. Sometimes had diarrhea, sometimes it was vomiting, but always with the stomach pain that could only be relieved by sitting in a scalding bath and not moving for hours. I even learned to sleep in the tub so I could actually rest some. I would go to the doctor after these flare ups, had multiple CT scans, ultrasounds, xrays, blood work, etc. Finally, my doc just didn't know what else to do. He admitted me to the hospital after yet another flare up. Mind you he had been treating me off a previous doc's diagnosis, and finally didn't think what I was dealing with was reasonable for a 22 year old.My gastro-interologist was out of town and his partner was filling in for his patients. As luck would have it, he had written papers on chronic/recurring appendicitis and knew what to look for. The plan was to poke two small holes in my abdomen to take a look and remove things through those holes, unless there was an infection. I woke up hours later with a 4 inch incision sewn up. My appendix had been plastered to the side of my abdomen with an infection, pus, and all that yummy stuff. They removed it and here I sit 8 years later without any of the problems I used to experience AND no IBS meds to slow me down.Chronic/Recurring Appendicitis can cause diarrhea or constipation. Whoever disagreed with that is WRONG. Also, as is indicated with the use of Chronic OR Recurring, the flareups can go on for years. I know this for a fact, as I LIVED IT. I speak of my own experience only and I have been cured with the removal of the infected appendix. Internet advice is nothing compared to seeing a doctor who knows what to look for. You need to find a gastro-interologist who has dealt with Chronic/Recurring Appendicitis in the past. Good luck and feel better. Life was a joke during that period of my life. Surgery saved my life, my doc told me that I was in danger of a rupture with every flare up. And each flare up was a little worse. Be safe and good luck.

#8 AlphaBowel

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:15 PM

Hey guys I think that some of us IBS sufferers (me included) get bad pain in the bottom right too.I was so worried it was appendicitus because when I was walking I could actually feel an intense pain there that felt like it worsened the more pressure I was putting down with my foot.I spoke to my doctor about this and he said IBS pain is very common in all areas and especially there. It's a huge sigh of relief to hear other IBS sufferers are experiencing the same type of pain :(

#9 Jack Mark

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:28 AM

No,I never felt such type of indications, why...because I am a man not women.Get credit cards quotes

#10 baz22p

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:44 AM

Hi Cherrie,Great post! I had to be a bit different when I had appendicitis - mine was peritonitis, required an emergency operation to remove @ 9.40 Christmas Eve night (total hospital stay = 25 days, normally apendicitis was only 8 days at that time). The surgeon said without the operation I would probably be dead within the hour. That was over 40 years ago! In my case, the pain was different, VERY different. I can't begin to describe it but it is one of those things you will only know if you have experienced this for yourself.Diagnosing appendicitis is a lot easier and straightforward (or so my GP has told me) than IBS. So it is a case of trusting and having faith in your own doctor, because appendicitis would probably show up more clearly with some of the IBS tests (bloods, endoscopy, etc).Hopefully, this will prevent a lot of the IBS newbies worrying needlessly once their doctor has ruled out appendicitis - if this doesn't convince, then get a second opinion.....and quick, because 'true' apendicitis can escallate.Baz :(

#11 SamB

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 06:09 PM

I've also heard if you push down on your right side it would hurt really bad if it were appendecitis.

#12 Genie75

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 11:05 PM

Very interesting thread. I am concerned though about the posts about chronic appendicitis. I am wondering if that is what I have. Just a question, but would high fibrous foods trigger pain around the appendix? Like kiwi fruit seeds? Because I had a pain in the general area of the appendix and it is a new pain that just recently started. I find that the pain tends to subside after I can get the offending food eliminated thru the use of laxatives. Any ideas? Maybe just IBS, not the start of chronic appendicitis? I had no fever, and nothing showed up in the blood tests
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#13 Kathleen M.

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 07:21 AM

The problem is for some IBSers any high fiber food can cause pain. Where the pain is depends on where their IBS tends to cause pain and it can cause pain in the part of the colon right next to the appendix.You don't have to have something other than IBS to get pain with a particular food or a particular amount of fiber at one time.
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#14 Charlotte.

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 05:18 AM

Hi there,I'm 19 and I got diagnosed the other day with IBS but I'm really unsure as to whether I do have it or not. This thread has been really helpful and although chronic appendicitus is rare, I'm wondering if this may be what I have and any help would be greatly appreciated.I went to the doctors about three weeks ago regarding abdominal pain. The pain first started about 3 months ago and at first it wasn't very bad, I could just constantly feel a pain but it was very dull. If I 'sucked in' my lower abdomen then I could feel something quite sore in the right side or if I moved too quickly then it would hurt. Then about three weeks ago the pain got worse, I would call it a 'flare up' I guess. During the day it would be the same kind of constant dull pain but in the evening the pain would be a lot worse and it felt like... I guess quite like a burning pain which would be there the whole evening and occasionally i would get a pain which was so bad that made me want to fold over. This would go on all evening and then when I woke up in the morning it would be back to the constant dull pain which feels like there's something sore inside me or something that is too big to fit. Let me just say with the evening pain I found no pattern at all with my eating pattern. The pain would start around about the same time regardless of whether I had eaten dinner yet or not. The pain is always in the same place in the right lower abdomen.So... I went to the doctors, she first mentioned IBS but then when I talked further about the pain she turned to ovarian cysts or appendicitus. She put me in for an urgent ultrasound scan which i had two weeks ago, but this found nothing (although the lady said that appendicitus wouldn't show on an ultrasound anyway?) The doctor had told me she would think that I had chronic appendictus rather than accute because of the length of the pain.On friday I went back to the doctors, but had to see a different one as mine was away. What I was going for was to talk about looking into appendicitus and other causes seeing as no cysts or anything had been found. However, this doctor does not 'believe' in chronic appendicitus, and then brought up Google and said she would have to "educate" herself on it, this I thought was completely unprofesional but anyway she still held her belief that chronic appendicitus does not exsist. She then said she thinks I have IBS, gave me some leaflets and I left feeling a little annoyed to be honest.Apart from the pain I really don't think I have any other symptoms of IBS, my bowel movements are regular and normal and I've had no occurences of D or C. I kept a food diary for a couple of weeks and found absolutely no pattern with the pain.My 'flare up' has now gone and I'm back to constant pain in my side, today it's actually a little worse than dull. It's very uncomfortable.I'm tempted to go back and see my other doctor as she was so helpful but I'm back to university in a week and I have different doctors there who perhaps will take me more seriously.Any help would be greatly appreciated.Many thanks :(

#15 AlphaBowel

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:14 PM

Hey guys today I've had the worst pain in my lower right. It's a dull, thumping/aching pain in my lower right abdomen. The problem is I've had pain here for ages ever since I was diagnosed with IBS. But tonight the pain has been worse than ever before.I also feel pain in my lower right back just behind it. I'm pretty worried that my appendix will burst and I'll die!!! Any way I can be assured that this is probably just an IBS flare up?

#16 BQ

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 05:26 PM

One doesn't immediately die if one's appendix ruptures.. just so you know.Have you read this?:http://www.mayoclini...ECTION=symptomsHope you feel better soonBQ
Please remember this is a group of folks seeking support on how to live with and manage IBS. THESE ARE ONLY MY OWN THOUGHTS. IF YOU WANT AN EXPERT OPINION, ASK A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

#17 Kathleen M.

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:19 PM

The colon can hurt really bad right next to the appendix. Has the pain stayed bad, or does it come and go?Are you running a fever since the pain started?Does the pain rebound?http://www.medscape....warticle/521231 has an alternative test for that which you could probably do to yourself fairly easily.
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#18 AlphaBowel

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 06:51 AM

One doesn't immediately die if one's appendix ruptures.. just so you know.Have you read this?:http://www.mayoclini...ECTION=symptomsHope you feel better soonBQ

I have the rebound pain stated there. I think I have appendicitis. This pain is a lot more severe than the IBS attacks I've had previously. I dont really have any means of getting to a hospital over the weekend. Could I hold on until Monday to go to the doctors or is it important I go to the hospital ASAP?Thanks

#19 BQ

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 08:16 AM

As the article states:When to see a doctorMake an appointment with a doctor if you or your child experiences signs or symptoms that worry you. Abdominal pain so severe that a person is unable to sit still or find a comfortable position requires immediate medical attention. That's when you should go. So far though you seem to have only one symptom in common with appendicitis.You don't have any: Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Low-grade fever, Constipation, Inability to pass gas, Diarrhea or Abdominal swelling? If not... I wouldn't worry.It could be just IBS spasms or gas pain. Both of those can be severe.BQ
Please remember this is a group of folks seeking support on how to live with and manage IBS. THESE ARE ONLY MY OWN THOUGHTS. IF YOU WANT AN EXPERT OPINION, ASK A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

#20 AlphaBowel

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 09:48 AM

As the article states:When to see a doctorMake an appointment with a doctor if you or your child experiences signs or symptoms that worry you. Abdominal pain so severe that a person is unable to sit still or find a comfortable position requires immediate medical attention. That's when you should go. So far though you seem to have only one symptom in common with appendicitis.You don't have any: Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Low-grade fever, Constipation, Inability to pass gas, Diarrhea or Abdominal swelling? If not... I wouldn't worry.It could be just IBS spasms or gas pain. Both of those can be severe.BQ

Hi thereI have actually been slightly constipated the last few days. However, I now suspect that that could be the cause of this pain. The pain I was experiencing 2 days ago was very severe but I found it to actually not be near the appendix area (although I know many appendicitis sufferers experience general pain all around the lower right abdomen).Yesterday the pain eased and today I have hardly experienced any pain. I also suspect that it could have been an IBS attack because I ate 2/3 packets of ready salted crisps. I just finished a packet around 30 minutes ago and I have been in prettty bad pain in the left abdomen (just below the ribcage) as a result.My question is can IBS attacks really be that severe? And can the pain last that long? I was diagnosed around a year ago after experiencing horrendous pains (similar to the pain I had the other day). This is the first time since then that I have faced that type of pain. Thank you for all your help and support.





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