Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes, Types And Treatment

The most common symptom of appendicitis is a sudden, severe pain in the lower right side of the abdomen.

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Apr 03, 2023 19:10 IST
Appendicitis: Symptoms, Causes, Types And Treatment

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A medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus is called appendicitis. The appendix is a tiny pouch-like structure located in the lower right abdomen. According to Mayo Clinic, usually appendicitis occurs between the age of 10 and 30.

As per John Hopkins University, the appendix can rupture as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms appear. To know more about appendicitis, we contacted Dr Manu Shankar, Director of Minimal Invasive and General Surgery at Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad.

Symptoms Of Appendicitis

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of appendicitis, typically beginning around the belly button area and migrating to the lower right side of the abdomen. One can mistake appendicitis for a stomach bug. The pain can vary from mild to severe. Following are the other significant symptoms: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Low-grade fever 
  • Abdominal swelling 
  • Constipation or diarrhoea 
  • Inability to pass gas 
  • Pain when coughing or walking 

Types Of Appendicitis

Acute Appendicitis

Acute Appendicitis is the most common type of appendicitis and is caused by a blockage in the appendix. 

Read: Appendicitis:Why Does it Hurt so Much?

Chronic Appendicitis

Chronic Appendicitis is a long-term condition that is caused by a recurring infection in the appendix. 

Gangrenous Appendicitis

It is a severe form of appendicitis caused by an infection that has spread throughout the entire appendix. 

Sub-acute Appendicitis

Sub-acute Appendicitis is a mild form of appendicitis that is caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

Read: What Is Appendicitis? Here Are Its Signs, Causes And Treatment

Causes Of Appendicitis 

Dr Shankar says that the cause of appendicitis is unknown, and there is no prevention for it. But, some of the possible causes are:

  • Abdominal trauma or damage.
  • A blockage between the appendix and the intestines.
  • Infection of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Complications Of Appendicitis


This is a serious complication that can occur if the appendix bursts and its contents spread throughout the abdominal cavity. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and fever. 


This is an accumulation of pus that can form in the abdomen if the appendix ruptures. It can cause pain, redness, and tenderness in the right lower abdomen. 

Intestinal Obstruction

This occurs when a piece of the appendix becomes stuck in the intestine, which can prevent the passage of food, leading to abdominal pain and vomiting. 

Septic Shock

This is a life-threatening condition that can occur if the infection spreads to the bloodstream. Symptoms include a sudden drop in blood pressure and rapid heart rate. 

Treatment Of Appendicitis

A 2020 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that antibiotics could save many people with appendicitis from having surgery.

Treatment for appendicitis may involve surgical removal of the appendix. Recovery time typically depends on the severity of the condition and may take several weeks. It is important to follow the doctor's instructions closely during the recovery period. 

If untreated, appendicitis can lead to serious complications, such as a ruptured appendix, which can be life-threatening. Prompt medical attention is essential for diagnosis and treatment.