Appendicitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Appendicitis is a painful condition in which your appendix becomes inflamed. The appendix is a tube-like, muscular structure that is attached to the large intestine. The function of the appendix is unknown and it is believed by scientists that the appendix is just a remnant of evolution in human beings.  

Types of appendicitis:

There are two types of appendicitis, acute and chronic.

Acute appendicitis:

This is when appendicitis shows severe symptoms suddenly. It requires immediate treatment. If not treated on time, it can get complicated.

Chronic appendicitis:

Chronic appendicitis is when the patient experiences mild symptoms, which may disappear and then reappear again after a long time. Chronic appendicitis usually comes to clinical attention when it becomes acute.

What causes appendicitis?


Mostly, the exact cause of appendicitis remains unknown. Appendicitis can occur when there is a blockage of the appendix, which can happen in different conditions such as:

  • Tumors

  • Injury 

  • Worms in the intestine

  • Presence of hard stools

Blockage of the appendix causes bacteria to multiply, which can lead to swelling of the appendix and pain.

Symptoms of appendicitis:


The most common feature of appendicitis is pain. It occurs in the right lower side of your abdomen and is severe in intensity that may begin around your belly button and then shift to the lower right side of your abdomen. This pain may worsen when you make movements like laughing, jumping, etc. Appendicitis pain constitutes a major part of acute abdominal pain in the world. 

Other symptoms:

Symptoms other than pain include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fever

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Abdominal bloating

Complications of appendicitis:

The complications of appendicitis may include:

Appendicular perforation: in this condition, the appendix bursts, and the bacteria spread in the abdominal cavity causing inflammation of the peritoneum- a lining of the abdomen (peritonitis) that can be fatal.

Appendicular abscess: It is a condition in which a pocket of pus forms in the abdomen. It usually occurs after the rupture of the appendix.

Hepatic abscess: In this condition, pockets of pus (abscess) form in your liver.

Diagnosis of appendicitis:

Appendicitis is usually diagnosed by ultrasound. Your doctor may suggest a CT scan or an MRI get a detailed picture.

Treatment of appendicitis:

If mild, appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics. Severe cases are generally treated by surgery- a procedure called an appendectomy. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the inflamed appendix from your abdomen. Other than that, painkillers are prescribed to manage pain associated with appendicitis and surgery.


Appendicitis is a potentially life-threatening condition. If detected on time, it can be treated easily by surgery. Till now, doctors and scientists have not recognized any beneficial function of the appendix. Therefore, removal of the appendix does not make lifelong effects. If an inflamed appendix ruptures, it can become difficult to treat, resulting in death. This makes timely diagnosis crucial. If you notice any signs and symptoms of appendicitis, it is highly advisable to visit your doctor.  

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