Appendicitis is diagnosed when the appendix becomes inflamed when the appendix becomes blocked, typically by a stool or a foreign body. The appendix is a small sac attached to the large intestine. Appendicitis is a serious conditions and is a common cause for emergency surgery.
Many physical appendicitis symptoms are taken into account in the appendicitis diagnosis including the patient’s description of the abdominal pain, possible nausea and/or vomiting soon after the onset of the pain, swelling and potentially a fever as well. These appendicitis symptoms will lead the doctor to conduct further tests.
In order to arrive at an appendicitis diagnosis, the doctor may examine:
- Pain levels. In patients with appendicitis, the first sign is usually pain that increases greatly when gentle pressure is applied to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. If the appendix has ruptured, touching the belly area can cause intolerable pain.
- Rectal Examination. A rectal examination can help diagnose acute appendicitis and the test may uncover pain or sensitivity on the right side of the rectum.
- Blood Test. A blood test will often reveal a high white blood cell count that will suggest appendicitis.
- Imaging Studies. Imaging studies can also help diagnose appendicitis. These may include: computed tomography of the abdomen as well as an abdominal ultrasound.