Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, which is a thin pouch attached to the large intestine on the right side of the abdomen. It is usually about the size of a finger.
The exact cause of appendicitis is not known, but it may be caused by food or faeces (poo) getting lodged in the appendix. The appendix becomes blocked, then inflamed, then infected. Appendicitis can occur at any age, but is most common in children and young adults.
The main treatment for appendicitis is an operation to remove the inflamed appendix. This is known as an appendectomy or appendicectomy. The appendix is not essential for health, and the body functions normally without one.
There are no medically proven ways to prevent appendicitis. There is no known diet to prevent appendicitis.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2018