Appendicitis, inflammation of the appendix, is a potentially serious condition that can have several consequences for one’s health and well-being. The standard treatment for acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the diseased organ.

In typical cases, appendicitis occurs when a portion of the appendix gets blocked by some substance—usually a stone-like portion of fecal material or, in some cases, by parasites, tumor, or even gallstones. The blockage has three consequences: increase in internal pressure within the appendix, a decrease in blood supply to the wall of the organ, and bacterial overgrowth that is responsible for inflammation. This combination of dysfunctions causes tissue injury and death in the appendix. If the condition is not treated timely, the appendix may burst, thereby releasing bacteria into the abdominal cavity; this leads to excessive pain as well as the risk of further complications.

Interestingly, the diagnosis of appendicitis is often based on the observation of signs and symptoms of the suffering individual that are rather distinctive if present. However, in some cases, where no symptoms manifest or there is some ambiguity regarding the diagnosis, radiography and laboratory testing is used for detection. Usually, ultrasound and computer tomography (CT) scan are the most effective in diagnosis of this condition.

Since the preliminary attempts at diagnosis rely upon bodily signs and symptoms, it is very important that one be aware of the typical manifestations of appendicitis. Here are 10 symptoms that are commonly exhibited by those suffering from it.

1. Ache in the Belly Button Area

Though most people associate appendicitis with intense pain in the lower-right side of the abdomen, more often than not, that’s not how it begins. The earliest sign is an ache in the belly button area that soon travels to the lower portion of the abdomen. The pain in the belly button area occurs because the nerves of the appendix meet the spinal cord at the same level as the belly button. When the appendix is inflamed, therefore, pain is first felt in this area. The ache can get very intense and be exacerbated by movement or sudden jerks to the body.