Diagnosing appendicitis can sometimes be difficult due to its uncertain symptoms and due to other affections that manifest alike (gastroenteritis, Chron’s disease, etc).
Generally the symptoms of appendicitis are: nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Abdominal pain is present and at first the belly button area will be painful but after a while the pain will move in the right lower side of the abdomen and will be more intense.
This change of location of the pain is caused by the inflammation of the appendix which continues to spread until it reaches the peritoneum. Only then the pain will stabilize in one area in which the most painful point is the McBurney’s point. If treatment is delayed, the appendix can break and the inflammation will spread in the whole abdomen causing a diffuse abdominal pain.
Fever can install along with the tenderness in the lower right side of the abdomen. The doctor will try to see if rebound tenderness appears when after gently pressing with his hand on the abdomen and quick release, intense pain appears.
In order to see if you have appendicitis or not the doctor will request a blood test to see if the white blood cells are in an increased number. The white blood cells usually get numerous if an infection occurs in the body. In the first hours of appendicitis their level can be normal but after the infection spreads they will increase their number. A urine test will also be made to eliminate the possibility of a urine infection; CT and ultrasounds are performed too and are quite reliable nowadays helping doctors not only diagnosing appendicitis but also finding other affections inside the body that look like appendicitis.
Barium enema can also be performed to see if you have appendicitis or other affection. This is an x-ray made with a contrast substance called barium. It will show the doctor an image of your colon and if there is an inflammation of the appendix. This test can also confirm if gastroenteritis is present or not.
Unfortunately there is no test 100% accurate and sometimes a period of observation is needed before conclusions can be dragged.
Surgery will remove the inflamed appendix with the help of the laparoscope. The laparoscope is made of several tubes one containing an optic camera and others surgical instruments. This device will leave a smaller scar than the scalpel, and patients will recover faster after the surgery made with the laparoscope. The disadvantage is that the patient will require a general anesthesia.