Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix. If the symptoms of appendicitis are not recognized and the inflammation progresses, the appendix can rupture, followed by spread of bacteria outside of the appendix. After rupture, infection can spread throughout the abdomen; however, it usually is confined to a small area surrounding the appendix by the surrounding tissues, forming a peri-appendiceal abscess. Early signs and symptoms of appendicitis often are mild, consisting merely of a loss of appetite and/or nausea and a sense of not feeling well.
Sometimes, the body is successful in containing the appendicitis without surgical treatment. The inflammation, pain, and symptoms also may disappear when antibiotics are used; however, an abscess usually requires drainage.