Appendicitis is one of the most common illnesses that many patients come in for when coming to the emergency room. While a very common illness, it is often confused with other digestive issues as the symptoms are very similar. Due to this confusion, almost all patients delay seeking treatment which can cause more problems and result in emergency surgery or in some cases death. Here is an overview to clear up the confusion when it comes to food poisoning vs appendicitis.
Causes of Appendicitis
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, either by stool, inflammation, or even cancer. A diet high in fiber will lower your chances of developing appendicitis. Appendicitis can feel like it’s coming on sudden, which can cause people to not seek immediate medical attention. You will feel pain in your lower right abdominal quadrant and that is when you will start to wonder whether you are experiencing a case of food poisoning or something more serious.
Food Poisoning vs Appendicitis
Food poisoning and appendicitis share common symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The key difference to note between these two illnesses is that appendicitis will have a more centralized point of pain such as the bellybutton at the beginning and then move and intensify to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. Appendicitis is often characterized by a sharp pain that will limit your walking ability. At that point, it is critical for you to seek help for this medical emergency.
Another difference between food poisoning and appendicitis is that food poisoning is a viral infection, also known as stomach flu, that is contagious and caused by contaminated food or water.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
Symptoms vary from person, but if any of the following are present please seek immediate help:
- Pain localized near the belly button that intensifies
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting after abdominal pain starts
- Low-grade fever
- Difficulty moving due to pain
Things to Avoid if You Suspect Appendicitis
It is extremely important that you DO NOT take measures that could worsen your condition, such as:
Applying a heating pad to your abdomen, believing it could be menstrual cramps
Eat or drink
Take over the counter quick fixes like antiacids, laxatives, and pain relievers
What if the Pain Goes Away?
Appendicitis and other gastrointestinal issues can cause severe stomach pain like you’ve never experienced in your life. It’s important to keep in mind that if pain impairs your ability to move or cry, you need to seek medical attention even if the pain goes away to ensure that your health is not in danger.
In the case of appendicitis, your appendix can burst and that will relieve the pain but because the organ has burst and was once infected and inflamed, it will release toxins which will need to be removed by a surgeon. If left unattended, the toxic matter can lead to death.
Treatment for Appendicitis
Treatment for appendicitis is available in the form of antibiotics if the illness is caught early. If your symptoms have become severe, doctors will run tests to ensure an appendectomy is needed. An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. After surgery, it is important that you avoid alcohol, coffee, and spicy food.
The appendix is a vestigial organ, meaning that you will be fine without it as it is not critical in order to sustain life. Nevertheless, don’t take your appendix for granted. While there are no specific things you can do to prevent appendicitis, living an overall healthy life is essential.
Stop by an ER
Are you Googling food poisoning vs appendicitis? Our doctors will be able to determine which might be the culprit. Stop at any of our 3 locations if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of appendicitis. It is our sole duty to aid you in high-risk situations. Our River Oaks emergency room, Katy emergency room, and Clear Creek emergency room are well equipped to assist you at any moment’s notice. At Village Emergency Centers, our mission is to provide you and your loved ones quality medical emergency care.
Our emergency centers are conveniently open 24/7 and accept walk-ins because we know emergencies are not events that can be planned. Get directions here to visit one of our locations.