Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a small tube-like organ that is attached to the colon. The inflammation is caused by a blockage of the inside of the appendix, which causes pressure and problems with blood flow. This blockage is usually caused by feces or an injury to the abdomen.
Symptoms of appendicitis may include:
- Pain in the abdomen, focused in the lower right area
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal swelling
- Loss of appetite
Once the appendix becomes inflamed, it must be removed promptly through a surgical procedure known as an appendectomy. If left untreated, the appendix may rupture and lead to infection or an abscess. Since the appendix has no known function, removal does not cause any harm.
Surgery may be performed traditionally through a small incision in the abdomen, or through laparoscopy, using three to four tiny incisions. An appendectomy is a common and safe procedure which most people recover from with no complications.