Symptoms of a Burst Appendix

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The appendix is a small organ that has no known value to the human body. It's shaped like a finger and attached via an opening to the large intestine. If the appendix is inflamed and infected, it has the potential to burst. A burst appendix is extremely dangerous if left untreated. It causes the infection to spread throughout the abdomen, which can lead to peritonitis and death. Since a burst appendix starts with appendicitis, many of the symptoms are the same.

Pain

Probably the best-known symptom of both appendicitis and a burst appendix is pain radiating from the bellybutton down to the McBurney point, an area between the bellybutton and where your hip protrudes on the right side. The pain may come and go initially, but remain sharp and constant as the appendix gets close to bursting. Once the appendix bursts the pain is unbearable. Pain may also occur in the back or rectum.

Fever

While the appendix is swelling there might be a low-grade fever. Once it becomes inflamed and bursts, normally the fever rises, particularly if it infects the other areas of the abdomen. E. coli bacteria in the intestines spreads as the contents of the intestines leak into the abdominal cavity. The fever spikes high when infection is full-blown.

Stomach Upset

The person with a burst appendix or appendicitis loses their appetite. Sometimes it occurs because of nausea that may also accompany a burst appendix. Often there is vomiting. The vomiting may be worse at first and then get better but return later.

Change in Bowel Habits

Either constipation or diarrhea can occur from a burst appendix. Those that have the problem often lose the ability to pass gas.

Abdominal Bloating

A bloated or swollen abdomen is one sure sign of both appendicitis and a burst appendix. It's particularly noticeable in infants. The bloating comes from inflammation and fluid filling the abdominal cavity.

Dangers

One of the biggest problems of diagnosing appendicitis and a burst appendix is that not all people have all of the symptoms. Sometimes the particularly young or old have only a few of the symptoms, confusing the diagnosis of appendicitis.

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