Live Better
 
 

Stomach ache or appendicitis

Could your stomach ache be something more serious?

Doctor checking young girls heart beat with a stethoscope.

We all know the dangers associated with appendicitis and that stomach pain is often the main symptom. But how do you tell the difference between a bout of indigestion or a stomach bug and appendicitis?
Appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix , can be life threatening if prompt treatment isn’t sought. Whilst this is rare, it’s important to recognise the signs of appendicitis.

MORE: Can my child go swimming with grommets and other commonly asked questions

Diagnosing appendicitis can be tricky because the symptoms often mirror those of gastroenteritis . Abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever are symptoms that are present for both conditions. The key difference is that gastro strikes hard and fast – the symptoms mostly disappear as quickly as they come on. If they don’t, it’s time to see a doctor.

Whilst some of the symptoms are similar, the Better Health channel advises that appendicitis can be recognised through taking heed of the following symptoms:

  • Dull pain centered around the navel
  • Dull pain that progresses to a sharp pain in the lower right side of your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite

If you or your child are displaying these symptoms its best to seek advice from your doctor who can perform a physical examination.

Remember that children often find it hard to say where their pain is so it’s best to err on the side of caution if your child is complaining of a prolonged stomach ache and pain associated with movement.

MORE: Can you tell the difference between infected adenoids and a common cold?

If you or your child are diagnosed with appendicitis, you will most likely undergo an operation to remove the appendix. This is known as an appendectomy. Where possible the surgeon will remove the appendix through keyhole surgery which uses several tiny cuts. If this is not possible a small larger incision will be made in your lower abdomen. This is known as an open appendectomy.

To find out more about how your private hospital insurance could help you manage the cost of a procedure like this, take a look at our interactive out-of-pocket costs tool.

Recommended Reading

Acne: fact or fiction?

Is chocolate really to blame?

Read more

Tonsillectomy: is it worth the risk?

What are the risks involved when you get your tonsils out?

Read more

Cervical Screening: What do your results mean?

Our guide to interpreting your cervical screening results

Read more

Adenoids or cold?

What's the difference between infected adenoids and a cold?

Read more

Can my child go swimming with grommets…

Everything you've ever wanted to know about grommets

Read more

Caring for your hearing and your health

1 in 6 Australians experience some degree of hearing loss.

Read more