Gut Pain: Is It Appendicitis Or Gas?

Gut pain can be really frustrating. And if it happens out of nowhere, you might be worried about appendicitis. This serious condition develops when the appendix becomes inflamed.1 However, it could also be something minor like gas. Both conditions cause gut pain – so how do you know what’s going on?

To start, check out this detailed breakdown of appendicitis and gas.


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1. Appendicitis

  • Belly Pain

Belly Pain Indicates Appendicitis


The most common symptom of appendicitis is pain around the belly button. Often, it starts out light and gradually becomes worse. The pain is usually very sharp.2

  • Lower Right Pain

Lower Right Pain Indicates Appendicitis


If the pain moves to the lower right side, pay attention. This isn’t something gas would do.

There’s a spot called McBurney’s point, located just above the appendix. Doctors use it to diagnose appendicitis. So if this area feels painful, there’s a good chance it’s not just gas.3 It typically starts acting up 12 to 24 hours after the initial pain.4

  • Pain That Comes And Goes

Pain That Comes And Goes Indicates Appendicitis

Don’t ignore the pain that keeps coming back. This is a tell-tale sign of a problem with your appendix. It might also reappear when you walk, cough, or suddenly move around. Basically, any forceful movements will start up the pain.5

  • Nausea

Nausea Indicates Appendicitis

Appendicitis can be so painful that it makes you woozy. But even if the pain temporarily disappears, it can cause a lot of discomforts. You’ll probably feel sick and have the urge to vomit.6

  • Loss Of Appetite

Loss Of Appetite Indicates Appendicitis

Nausea and pain from appendicitis can mess with your appetite. Food won’t seem very appealing! You may have a hard time keeping food down, even if you’re actually hungry.

  • Fever

Fever Indicates Appendicitis

If you develop a high temperature, appendicitis might be at play. The fever will be low grade, but noticeable. Chills and shaking are also possible.7

  • Bowel Problems

Bowel Problems Indicate Appendicitis

As appendicitis progresses, hard stools and diarrhea will show up. This has a lot to do with the poor appetite and nausea. If you have these symptoms, drinking water may provide relief until you get to the doctor.8

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2. Gas

  • Stomach Pain

Stomach Pain Indicates Gas

Like appendicitis, gas can cause a stomach pain. This happens when the gas doesn’t properly move through your intestines.9 Some people may have more discomfort than pain.

It’s possible for gas to cause pain on one side. But if you’re worried about appendicitis, this can be confusing. Pay attention to the type of pain. If it’s gas, it won’t be sharp and severe. It also won’t randomly come and go.

  • Bloating

Bloating Indicates Gas

Feeling bloated? Gas is the culprit. Bloating is the feeling of fullness and pressure on the stomach. Your stomach might even swell up, making it hard to button up your pants.

Bloating doesn’t hurt, though. It’s more uncomfortable than painful.

  • Flatulence

Flatulence Indicates Gas

Passing gas is a sign of, well, gas. It can happen after a meal or at random. However, it’s totally normal and healthy to pass gas 13 to 21 times a day.10

  • Burping

Burping Indicates Gas

When you swallow too much air while eating, both burping and gas will develop. Most of the air will leave through a burp, but some will leave via flatulence.

If the burping gets out of control, it could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcer disease, or gastritis. 11

There are some similar symptoms between appendicitis and gas. But the main difference is how the pain presents itself. If your symptoms don’t subside, seek medical help immediately. Appendicitis can be treated by having emergency surgery to remove your appendix. You just need to catch it early!