Symptoms of appendicitis

Appendicitis typically starts with a pain in the middle of your abdomen (tummy) that may come and go.

Within hours the pain travels to the lower right-hand side, where the appendix is located, and becomes constant and severe.

Pressing on the appendix area, coughing or walking, may all make the pain worse.

If you have appendicitis, you may also have other symptoms, including:

When to get help

If you're experiencing abdominal pain that's gradually getting worse, contact your GP or local out-of-hours service immediately.

If these options aren't available, call NHS 24 on 111.

Appendicitis can easily be confused with something else, such as bladder or urine infections, Crohn's disease, gastritis, intestinal infection and ovary problems. However, all conditions that cause constant stomach pain require urgent medical attention.

You should call 999 for an ambulance if you get a pain that suddenly becomes worse and spreads across your abdomen. These are signs that your appendix may have burst.

If the appendix bursts, it will release bacteria, which can cause serious infections, such as swelling of the inner lining of the abdomen (peritonitis) and blood poisoning.

Read more information about the complications of appendicitis.

Last updated: 31 March 2014

Continue to next section: Causes of appendicitis