Inflammation of the appendix, a close-ended, small tube that is attached to the end of the large intestine.
Appendicitis can occur for various reasons, most typically when the opening of the appendix to the lower part of the large intestine (called the cecum) becomes blocked. When blockage occurs, bacteria begins to attack the wall of the appendix causing it to inflame. Appendicitis can also arise if the appendix ruptures and bacteria spreads outside the wall of the appendix.
If the appendix becomes inflamed in any way, bacteria and infection can spread outside its wall. When this happens, the appendix may rupture and cause mild to severe pain located in the lower, right side of the abdomen area. Other symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, fever and swelling of the abdomen.
Sometimes, the body is successful in healing the appendix without surgical treatment if the infection and inflammation do not spread throughout the abdomen. However, appendicitis can become severe, causing an affected individual to require surgical removal of the inflamed appendix.