That pain in your side could be appendicitis

by Nurse Rose Melendez | WGTS 91.9 FM

Did you know that 5 percent of Americans will experience appendicitis in their lifetime? In fact, it’s the most common cause of abdominal pain that leads to surgery in the U.S. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares with us how you can tell if stomach pain is appendicitis.

What is appendicitis?

Nurse Rose: Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a tube in your lower right abdomen area where your small intestine meets the large intestine. Appendicitis occurs when there is a blockage of the appendix.

What are the signs of appendicitis?

Nurse Rose: The most common symptom of appendicitis is severe abdominal pain. You may also notice these symptoms:

  • Pain around the bellybutton
  • Pain in the lower right side of your abdomen (stomach)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Low-grade fever

What should you do if you notice any of these symptoms?

Nurse Rose: If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical care at your local hospital’s Emergency Department. This is important because the appendix can burst open if appendicitis is left untreated.

How is appendicitis treated?

Nurse Rose: In most cases, appendicitis is treated with immediate surgery to remove the appendix, called appendectomy. Luckily, our bodies can function just fine without an appendix and most people begin to recover from appendectomy in just a few days.


Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

Need medical care fast? Adventist HealthCare has you covered with three Emergency Departments and three Urgent Care Centers in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.