Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that projects from your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. The appendix doesn't seem to have a specific purpose.

Appendicitis causes pain in your lower right abdomen. However, in most people, pain begins around the navel and then moves. As inflammation worsens, appendicitis pain typically increases and eventually becomes severe.

Although anyone can develop appendicitis, most often it occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30. Standard treatment is surgical removal of the appendix.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include:

  • Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Sudden pain that begins around your navel and often shifts to your lower right abdomen
  • Pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make other jarring movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating

The site of your pain may vary, depending on your age and the position of your appendix. When you're pregnant, the pain may seem to come from your upper abdomen because your appendix is higher during pregnancy.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with a doctor if you or your child has worrisome signs or symptoms. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.

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