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Diagnosis

Your doctor will review your medical history, especially any digestive illnesses. Your doctor will ask about your current digestive symptoms, including details about your most recent bowel movements: the timing, frequency, character (watery or hard), and whether the stool was streaked with blood or mucus.

Your doctor will examine you and check for pain in your lower right abdomen. In children, the doctor will look to see whether the child holds his or her hands over the navel when asked where it hurts. In an infant, flexed hips (knees held toward the chest) and a tender abdomen can be important clues to the diagnosis.

After the physical examination, your doctor will order blood tests to check for signs of infection and a urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract problem. Your doctor may order an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan to help confirm the diagnosis. In very young children, a chest X-ray may be needed to rule out pneumonia.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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