The symptoms of appendicitis normally begin with a pain in your abdomen (stomach). The pain usually develops quickly and then gets more severe over the course of several hours.
The location of the pain can vary, particularly in the early stages of the condition, but it tends to 'settle' in the lower right side of your abdomen.
Applying pressure to the area will usually make the pain worse, as will coughing and walking.
If you have appendicitis, you may also experience other symptoms including:
- nausea (feeling sick)
- loss of appetite
- constipation (being unable to empty your bowels)
- a high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over
When to seek urgent medical advice
A constant pain in your abdomen that is getting progressively worse can be caused by many conditions other than appendicitis, such an infection of your urinary tract. All conditions that cause constant abdominal pain require urgent medical attention.
If you are experiencing abdominal pain that is getting progressively worse, you should contact your GP or local out-of-hours service immediately. If these options are not available, call NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24.
When to seek emergency medical help
If you are experiencing abdominal pain that suddenly gets much worse and spreads across your abdomen, and your temperature rises to, or above, 38C (100.4F), it is likely that your appendix has burst. Call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Last updated: 04 October 2011
The appendix is a narrow muscular pocket in the abdomen that has no known function. It is attached to the large intestine.
The abdomen is the part of the body between the chest and the hips.
The sac-like organ of the digestive system. It helps digest food by churning it and mixing it with acids to break it down into smaller pieces.
Urinary system (urinary tract)
The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, the ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder and the urethra. The urethra is the tube through which we urinate.
Continue to next section: Causes of appendicitis