Bruised feeling on abdomen, traveling in a few days. Should I worry?
June 16, 2014 11:40 AM   Subscribe

In a few days, I'm going on a several-week trip to Europe. Yesterday I noticed a small (quarter-sized) area to the right of my bellybutton that feels bruised, but has no mark. It doesn't hurt unless I press on it, and then it feels like a bruise. I figure if I had appendicitis or something I'd be in a lot more pain. Should I be worried about this at all?
posted by emily37 to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
This sounds exactly like these little blip thingies I used to get in my arms--feels bruised, no mark, no apparent cause. In my case, they turned into very slightly raised areas (barely noticeable) after a few days. My doctor said this was due to drinking too much caffeine. I don't know what they are, but for me they did go away when I significantly reduced my caffeine intake.

But I think you should go to the doctor just in case. Last thing you want to do is find out you've got an actual problem when you're miles away from home and in an unknown place.
posted by phunniemee at 11:45 AM on June 16, 2014

Yes, I'd say so. I had appendicitis when I was a kid; felt a slight ache in my side for a couple days running that I didn't even think to complain to my mother about, it was so slight. In the exact same location you describe. On the third day I woke up with a bit of a fever and the ache was more intense. That was the day my appendix ruptured.

Of course, aches in your side can be a lot of things besides appendicitis, many of them benign. It was a long time ago for me, they may be able to do an MRI or something now and see if your appendix is inflamed. I'd definitely get it checked out before going on a trip --- emergency surgery in a foreign country is one of those things best left off your bucket list, you know?
posted by Diablevert at 11:47 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Appendicitis can definitely be a "slow burn," so much so that sometimes when you first present the doctor might send you home. I would have it checked out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was shocked at how little pain my appendix was in, and 100% had a about-to-burst inflammation. I had noticeable pain, maybe a thumbs width from the navel, about quarter sized...
posted by Jacen at 12:52 PM on June 16, 2014

Call your hospital's nurse hotline.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:27 PM on June 16, 2014

Before I had my appendix out I was in pain. As part of his tests, my doctor pushed down on my abdomen, not to the side but below my naval. Then he pulled his hand away abruptly, and the pain became very intense! My appendectomy was scheduled shortly thereafter.

Another pre-operation symptom I had was dark, orange urine.

In your case, I wouldn't do anything unless you're still feeling this mystery pain tomorrow.
posted by Rash at 1:37 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Appendix pain is very famous for the way it often hurts: if you push down on the area, it hurts a little, but when you let go it hurts a whole lot. If this describes your stomach you should get into a doctor. Doesn't mean you're in the clear if it doesn't hurt on rebound, of course.
posted by zug at 2:01 PM on June 16, 2014

My mom has spots like that and she has an infection in her kidney on the side where the spot first appeared. It's moved around and changed size. She does not have an appendix.

Let a trained professional do any pushing. My old SO's appendix ruptured with a little push from a trained medical professional.

Sorry to get on the "Go see a Doc" bandwagon, but unless you suddenly recall banging into something on a dark trip to the bathroom, go see one.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:09 PM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

You feel fine otherwise? It's just a little tender spot on your belly?

Seriously, if that's all it is, it is probably nothing. It is almost always nothing. How long have you had this tender spot? Ever had anything like it before? If you just noticed it watch it for a few hours to see if it changes at all.

It it were me it would probably be from running into something like the corner of a counter and not remembering I had done it. I get odd tender spots all the time because I'm clumsy and not very sensitive to pain.

In my experience you know when something is serious because you feel either enough pain or seriously off in some other, possibly indefinable way. But if you have medical coverage and the time to spare you could get it checked our for your own peace of mind.

Is it possible that you might be focusing some nebulous anxiety about the upcoming trip by worrying that you have a health problem manifesting? That way you can run the-trip-will-be-a-dangerous-disaster type feelings because you are about to wind up in a Serbian hospital with appendicitis rather than just being a grown-up afraid to fly to a foreign country.

I don't mean this in a bad way. Grown ups aren't usually allowed to be afraid of things just because they never did them alone before. And of course for all I know I am completely going off on a tangent because you are about to embark on your annual trip with family.
posted by Jane the Brown at 2:46 PM on June 16, 2014

Have you been wearing a belt that might rub there, or even just the top button of jeans or pants?
I get similar spots when I wear a certain pair of tights that have a knotty seam that hits right at my bellybutton.
posted by vickyverky at 3:01 PM on June 16, 2014

FWIW, when I had appendicitis it was so bad that it was a) "The largest appendix I have ever seen" (from my diagnosing doctor), and b) "Gangrenous, how the hell were you walking?" from my surgeon.

I felt no pain until three days before it ruptured.

Do not trust any medical advice here. Go see a medical professional and get an actual diagnosis. (Possible) appendicitis is not something to be trifled with. From experience, the exact area you are describing is where the pain presents.

IANAD. Go see someone who is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:39 PM on June 16, 2014

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