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Appendicitis - Diagnosing appendicitis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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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.

Some people develop pain similar to appendicitis, but it's caused by something else, like a bladder or urine infection, Crohn's disease or gastritis.

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.

Further tests

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: 

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.

Medical Review: April 09, 2012
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