A burst appendix, which is also referred to as a perforated or ruptured appendix, is a serious condition that requires immediate, emergency medical care. Severe inflammation of the appendix, a small organ located in the abdomen, can cause this organ to swell and enlarge. Patients who do not receive immediate treatment can develop bursting appendix symptoms.
Abdominal Pain or Swelling
Abdominal pain is the most common symptom associated with appendicitis or burst appendix. Sensations of pain can arise suddenly and typically begin near the belly button. Shortly after symptoms emerge, sensations of pain may migrate to the lower right portion of the abdomen, which is where the appendix is located. Affected patients can also develop mild abdominal swelling that is tender to the touch. If left untreated, pressure due to appendix inflammation can cause the appendix to rupture within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of abdominal pain symptoms, explains KidsHealth, a health information website established by the Nemours Foundation.
When the appendix ruptures, patients may temporarily experience relief from painful abdomen symptoms, reports MedlinePlus, a medical information website supported by the National Institutes of Health. Bursting of the appendix leads to inflammation of the entire abdominal cavity, a life-threatening condition referred to as peritonitis. Peritonitis can lead to severe, debilitating abdominal pain and requires immediate medical intervention to stop the spread of infection.
Inflammation within the appendix can irritate the digestive tract. If this occurs, patients with a burst appendix can experience significant stomach upset symptoms as a result of this medical condition. These stomach upset symptoms can occur suddenly and may include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea or decreased appetite. Stomach discomfort can also lead to decreased appetite in affected patients.
Symptoms of fever are more common in patients who develop a burst appendix, according to the journal American Family Physician. A fever is the body's normal immune response to infection and helps limit pathogens from spreading through the body. Fever symptoms are typically low-grade and may occur in conjunction with headache, sweating or chills. Patients who develop fever symptoms for any reason should seek additional medical care from a doctor as this bursting appendix symptom can also be a sign of alternate health issues.