Appendicitis Symptoms and Bowel Movements

The appendix is a finger-like appendage located on the right side of the large intestine. Approximately 5 percent of Americans experience an infection of the appendix, called appendicitis, according to The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library Home Edition. The inflammation and infection in the appendix may cause a rupture that can lead to complications such as an infection in the abdomen or death. Surgical removal of the appendix is the usual treatment for the condition. Recognize the symptoms of appendicitis in order to receive immediate medical attention.

You may have a pain in your abdomen. (Image: Martin Dimitrov/iStock/Getty Images)


Most often, the first symptom of appendicitis is pain. The sharp, sudden pain may wake a person up at night, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The pain generally begins around the navel and migrates to the lower right abdomen, halfway between the navel and the hip. This new pain location, referred to a McBurney's point, may cause rebound tenderness. Rebound tenderness is a pain phenomenon occurs after applying pressure with the hands to the affected area and quickly releasing the pressure by removing the hands. Pain intensifies when removing the hands. The pain may begin dull and worsen as the infection and inflammation continues. Movement, such as walking or coughing may worsen the pain.

Nausea and Vomiting

A person suffering from appendicitis may experience symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. The nausea and vomiting usually begin after the pain begins. The nausea passes after a few hours and the pain moves to McBurney's point, according to The Merck Manuals Online Library Home Edition. A loss of appetite may also occur.


Since appendicitis is an infection in the body, fever and chills may develop. The fever may increase to 100 or 101 degrees F. A person may feel shaky with the fever and chills. A fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen may help reduce the fever.

Changes in Bowel Movements

A person suffering from appendicitis may feel the urge to defecate, but is not able to produce any stool. The person may feel as though the painful symptoms would resolve if able to pass stool or intestinal gas. Some may experience diarrhea with appendicitis.

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