Is it the stomach flu, or appendicitis in disguise?

Stomach pain in children and adults can be concerning for many reasons. One of the first concerns that comes to mind is appendicitis. While stomach pain can be a symptom for many different digestive or abdominal problems, it is difficult to tell without being evaluated by a medical provider. We’ve all heard stories of appendicitis that went untreated, resulting in a more dangerous situation. When in doubt, it is important to head to the ER.


Appendicitis an emergent condition that results when the appendix, attached to your large intestine, is blocked in some way. The blockage may come in different forms including via an infection, by the stool or even a cancer. Appendicitis is the most common cause of severe abdominal pain. Typically appendicitis is rare in children under the age of 2, most common between the ages of 10 and 30, but can strike at any age.

Appendicitis Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Dull pain in the middle or upper abdomen that becomes more sharp near the lower right abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Painful urination
  • Severe cramps

If you have any of the mentioned symptoms, come to the ER. A timely diagnosis is key!

Get to an ER

Stomach Flu

What if the cause of your stomach pain is not appendicitis and something less emergent like the stomach flu? The stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is a viral infection and a common cause of sickness in both children and adults. It’s easily passed from one person to another, and is more common in the winter months when people spend an increasing amount of time indoors.

Stomach Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of the stomach bug can appear the same but are usually less severe in nature, only lasting a day or two. Common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pains and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Low Fever (occurs in approximately half of people)

Monitor your symptoms or consider a visit to the local urgent care or primary care physician for quick treatment.

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