Testing for Appendicitis

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a very common medical condition characterized by the infection and swelling of the appendix. The organ affected by the condition is the appendix which is a finger like pouch that is attached to the large intestine, around the lower right area of the abdomen. The problem with correctly diagnosing appendicitis initially is the fact that the symptoms it shows up are often misunderstood to be nothing more than a stomach ache.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Some of the prominent symptoms that the patient will experience include a mild fever and pain around the bellybutton that it more often than not, accompanied by constipation, diarrhea and vomiting. As the condition progresses to a more serious stage, the pain around the belly will get significantly more intense. In the event that the condition is completely ignored, the appendix will continue to swell up - with an increasing likelihood of bursting and the contained bacteria and infection spreading throughout the abdomen.

This cycle of events can lead to some serious health problems. The condition is primarily caused by an obstruction in the appendiceal lumen. In most cases, the blockage is caused by mucus and the environment is made perfect for the causing bacteria to live within the appendix and multiply. Other sources of the obstruction include feces, parasite or growths, inflammatory bowel disease and trauma to the abdomen.

Procedure For Conducting a Appendicitis Test

There are a number of ways in which a trained medical professional can test for appendicitis. In a physical examination, the doctor will push a few parts of the belly to locate the epicenter of the pain, focusing primarily on the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. During a rectal examination, the doctor will insert a gloved finger into the patient's anus and feel around to locate the source of pain.

In order to identify if there is any infection present, the doctor may also suggest you undergo a blood test. When testing for appendicitis with the help of a blood test, the procedure is very much the same as with any other blood test. A sample of the patient's blood will be extracted with the help of a syringe and sent to the laboratory for analysis. When the diagnosis of appendicitis is still unclear, the doctor may even suggest a CT scan as it is more accurate than an ultrasound. This imaging of the appendix structure allows the doctor to obtain an image of the organ and identify if it is inflamed or not.