Appendicitis can be tricky to diagnose unless you have the typical symptoms.
However, around one in two people with appendicitis do not have typical symptoms.
Moreover, some people's appendix may be located in a slightly different part of their body, such as the pelvis, behind the large intestine or behind the liver.
A doctor will ask about your symptoms, examine your abdomen and see if the pain gets worse when pressure is applied to the appendix area (the lower right-hand side).
If your symptoms are typical of appendicitis, this is normally enough for your GP to make a confident diagnosis.
However, if your symptoms are not typical, further tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
Further tests may involve:
- a blood test to see if your body is fighting infection
- a urine test to rule out other conditions, such as a bladder infection
- a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or an ultrasound scan - scans have proven very reliable in detecting appendicitis
- a pregnancy test for women
It can take several days to get test results. Therefore if appendicitis is suspected, it is likely you will be advised to have your appendix removed rather than run the risk of it bursting.
If your doctor suspects that your appendix has burst, you will be sent to hospital immediately for treatment.
Read more information about treating appendicitis.