Symptoms & Causes of Appendicitis
What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
The most common symptom of appendicitis is pain in your abdomen, or belly. If you have appendicitis, the pain in your abdomen may
- begin near your belly button and move lower and to your right
- start suddenly and may even wake you if you’re sleeping
- get worse when you move around, take deep breaths, cough, or sneeze
- be severe and may feel different than any pain you’ve ever felt
- happen before other symptoms, and worsen in a matter of hours
Other symptoms of appendicitis may include
However, some people who are found to have appendicitis, especially children, may not have any of these typical symptoms.2 Talk with your doctor right away if you or your child are experiencing pain or discomfort. A doctor can evaluate the symptoms you or your child are experiencing and provide a diagnosis or determine other possible reasons for complications.
Some people with appendicitis may also have bowel problems, such as
- an inability to pass gas
- constipation or diarrhea
- the feeling that having a bowel movement will relieve discomfort
What causes appendicitis?
Appendicitis can have more than one cause. In many cases, the cause is not clear. Possible causes include
- hardened stool or growths that can block the opening inside the appendix
- enlarged tissue in the wall of your appendix, caused by infection in the digestive tract or somewhere else in your body
- inflammatory bowel disease
When should I seek a doctor's help?
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate care. See a doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you think you or your child has appendicitis. A doctor can help treat appendicitis, reduce symptoms, and lower the chance of complications.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.