Appendicitis is one of the causes of serious belly pain. It happens when the appendix, a part of the large intestine, becomes infected and inflamed.
Appendicitis is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30, although it can occur at any age. Common symptoms of appendicitis include:
If the inflamed appendix is not surgically removed and the infection gets worse, the wall of the appendix can break open (rupture). This spreads infection into the belly area, causing peritonitis. Peritonitis is a serious condition that, in rare cases, can lead to death.
Last Revised: April 5, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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