Acute appendicitis is a condition where the appendix, a small, finger-like tube attached to the lower right side of the large intestine, becomes inflamed. The cause of appendicitis is mostly due to an infection or obstruction in the digestive tract. If left untreated, an infected appendix may burst and cause an infection throughout the abdominal cavity and bloodstream.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Abdominal pain, usually starting just above the belly button and then moving to the right lower side of the abdomen
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain when the right side of the abdomen is touched
  • Low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Change in normal bowel pattern

If you experience symptoms of appendicitis, do not attempt to relieve constipation with enemas or laxatives. These medications increase the risk of the appendix bursting. Additionally, avoid taking pain-relief medications before seeing your doctor, as they can mask symptoms of appendicitis and make diagnosis more difficult.


Your doctor will review your medical history, particularly any digestive illnesses. They will inquire about your current digestive symptoms and ask for details about your most recent bowel movements, such as timing, frequency, consistency (watery or hard), and whether there was any presence of blood or mucus in the stool.

After conducting a physical examination and checking for pain in your lower right abdomen, your physician will order blood tests to check for signs of infection and a urinalysis to rule out any urinary tract problems.

In some cases, your physician may order an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan to confirm the diagnosis. Most individuals will seek medical attention within 12 to 48 hours due to abdominal pain. In some instances, a low level of inflammation may have existed for several weeks prior to diagnosis.


The recommended course of action for appendicitis is to remove the appendix, which is known as an appendectomy. It is important to do so promptly in order to decrease the risk of rupture. Appendicitis is considered an emergency and requires timely attention to avoid the risk of complications.

Typically, antibiotics are administered intravenously during surgery and continued through the day after the procedure. In cases where the appendix has ruptured, the individual will require a longer hospital stay and a course of antibiotics.


There is no guaranteed way to prevent appendicitis. However, individuals who consume foods high in fiber, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, have a reduced likelihood of developing the condition.

If you suspect that you may be experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, it is important to promptly contact your doctor for an evaluation and to receive appropriate treatment, which can help mitigate the risk of a ruptured appendix.