While no one knows exactly what the appendix does, we do know that when it becomes inflamed, it needs to be removed, immediately. This inflammation, called appendicitis, can lead to a ruptured appendix, which in turn can lead to an infection in the abdominal cavity.
“The first sign of appendicitis is often a dull pain near your upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves toward your lower right abdomen,” says F. Michael Caldwell, MD, internal medicine physician at Physicians Park Primary Care. “Other common signs include loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting soon after the pain begins, fever and an inability to pass gas.”
If you experience several of these symptoms at the same time, you should head to the nearest emergency room. “There are varying levels of appendicitis, but usually, the safest option is to remove the appendix right away, when there is inflammation,” says Caldwell.