Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that is attached to your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. There is no known purpose of the appendix and surgical removal causes no known health problems. However, one theory is that the appendix stores good bacteria to replenish the digestive system after an illness. Symptoms of appendicitis may include sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen, pain that worsens if you cough or walk, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, constipation or diarrhea, and abdominal bloating. Anyone is at risk of appendicitis, but it seems to happen more often in individuals who are between 10 and 30 years of age.
Appendicitis is caused by a blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection. The appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus. Serious complications of appendicitis may include a ruptured (burst) appendix, which can be life threatening, and formation of a pocket of pus (abscess) in the abdomen. To diagnose appendicitis your doctor may perform a physical exam, as well as blood, urine, and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Appendicitis treatment usually involves surgery to remove the inflamed appendix. If an abscess does form, a tube may be placed to drain the pus prior to surgery. If you or someone you know has symptoms of appendicitis, talk with your doctor immediately.