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Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix.

The appendix is a tube-shaped organ that arises from the caecum of the large intestine. It is one centimetre wide and can measure between about eight to 16 centimetres in length.

Inflammation usually occurs when the opening between the appendix and the caecum is blocked. The blockage may be caused by:

  • mucus that has thickened and hardened within the appendix
  • small pieces of faecal matter that enter the appendix and hardened
  • swelling of the appendix's tissue after a viral illness


The most common symptoms of appendicitis are:

  • pain or discomfort in the centre of the abdomen that moves to the lower right side of the abdomen
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal swelling