The appendix is a small thin tube where your small intestine meets your large intestine. It’s on the right side of your body. For a long time, doctors thought the appendix served no purpose in the body. Now researchers wonder if the appendix might be a place where helpful bacteria lives. Appendicitis is a painful condition that happens when the appendix becomes inflamed.

Fun Facts

  • Appendicitis is pretty rare. About 5 percent of people will have appendicitis during their lifetime.
  • This problem is most common between the ages of 10 and 30. Boys are more likely to have appendicitis than girls.
  • The symptoms of appendicitis may seem like indigestion at first. People sometimes feel nauseous or have diarrhea. They might vomit or have a fever. The pain gets worse over time and usually occurs near the belly button or on the lower right side of the belly.
  • Appendicitis needs to be treated right away. If the appendix bursts, it can cause a serious infection.
  • The treatment for appendicitis is a surgery called an appendectomy. A doctor will make a small incision and remove the appendix. In some cases, the doctor can use a type of surgery called laparoscopy, which is a simpler surgery.
  • After surgery, most people stay in the hospital for a few days.


  1. Inflame: enlarged and irritated
  2. Indigestion: a stomach ache
  3. Incision: cut

Questions and Answers

Question: What causes appendicitis?

Answer: Sometimes it happens for no obvious reason. Or it can happen because something is blocking the appendix, such as worms, poop, a tumor, or trauma.

Learn More

Find out more about appendicitis in kids.