Any person with point tenderness should call the emergency number (911) or go to an emergency room to be examined right away by a health care provider.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam, which includes gently pushing on areas of your abdomen. Persons with peritonitis will often tense the abdominal muscles when the doctor touches the area. This is called "guarding."
The doctor will note any point tenderness. This is a general term that means you have tenderness in a certain area.
For example, if you have appendicitis, you will likely have point tenderness when a certain part of your belly area is touched. This area is called McBurney's point.
The health care provider will also ask questions about your symptoms and medical history:
When did the symptoms start?
Is this the first time you have had such discomfort?
If not, when does the discomfort tend to occur?
What other symptoms do you have? For example, do you have:
Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.