Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a condition in which your appendix gets inflamed. The appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine.

What are the causes for Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a very common cause of emergency surgery. The problem most often occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by feces, a foreign object, a tumor or a parasite in rare cases.

What are the symptoms for Appendicitis?

The symptoms of appendicitis can vary. It can be hard to detect appendicitis in young children, older people, and women of childbearing age.

The first symptom is often pain around the belly button or mid upper abdomen. Pain may be minor at first, but becomes more sharp and severe. You may also have a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever.

The pain tends to move into the right lower part of your belly. The pain tends to focus at a spot directly above the appendix called McBurney point. This most often occurs 12 to 24 hours after the illness starts.

Your pain may be worse when you walk, cough, or make sudden movements. Later symptoms include:

  • Chills and shaking
  • Hard stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting

What are the current treatments for Appendicitis?

Most of the time, a surgeon will remove your appendix as soon as you are diagnosed.

If a CT scan shows that you have an abscess, you may be treated with antibiotics first. You will have your appendix removed after the infection and swelling have gone away.

The tests used to diagnose appendicitis are not perfect. As a result, the operation may show that your appendix is normal. In that case, the surgeon will remove your appendix and explore the rest of your abdomen for other causes of your pain.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Appendicitis?

Most people recover quickly after surgery if the appendix is removed before it ruptures.

If your appendix ruptures before surgery, recovery may take longer. You are also more likely to develop problems, such as:

  • An abscess
  • Blockage of the intestine
  • Infection inside the abdomen (peritonitis)
  • Infection of the wound after surgery

When should I contact a medical professional for Appendicitis?

Call your provider if you have pain in the lower-right portion of your belly, or other symptoms of appendicitis.


Cole MA, Huang RD. Acute appendicitis. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 83.

Sarosi GA. Appendicitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 120.

Sifri CD, Madoff LC. Appendicitis. In: Bennett E, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas,and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 80.

Smith MP, Katz DS, Lalani T, et al. ACR appropriateness criteria right lower quadrant pain -- suspected appendicitis. Ultrasound Q. 2015;31(2):85-91. PMID: 25364964

Latest Research

Latest Advance
  • Condition: Appendicitis
  • Journal: Scottish medical journal
  • Treatment Used: Antibiotics
  • Number of Patients: 96
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using antibiotics over a appendicectomy to treat patients with appendicitis during a pandemic.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Simple Appendicitis
  • Journal: Annals of surgery
  • Treatment Used: Laparoscopic Appendicectomy before Intravenous Antibiotics
  • Number of Patients: 304
  • Published —
The study researched the benefits of intravenous antibiotics after laparoscopic appendicectomy for simple appendicitis.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Adult Appendicitis During COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Journal: Techniques in coloproctology
  • Treatment Used: Surgery
  • Number of Patients: 500
  • Published —
This study described the impact of the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of acute appendicitis (AA) in the United Kingdom (UK).
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Appendicitis with COVID-19
  • Journal: Journal of pediatric surgery case reports
  • Treatment Used: Non-Operative Management
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with appendicitis and COVID-19 that was treated using non-operative management.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Procedure
  • Participants: 20
  • Start Date: June 1, 2020
Endoscopic Retrograde Appendicitis Therapy - a Pilot Study
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 1800
  • Start Date: May 18, 2020
Role of Delay and Antibiotics on PERForation Rate While Waiting appendECTomy - Randomized Non-inferiority Trial