Pain in the abdomen (tummy pain) is usually the main symptom. Commonly, the pain starts in the middle of the abdomen. The pain normally develops quickly, over an hour or so. Over the next few hours the pain typically travels to the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. This is over where the appendix normally lies.
Typically the pain becomes worse and worse over 6-24 hours. The pain may become severe. The pain tends to be more sharp if you cough or make any jarring movements. The pain may ease a bit if you pull your knees up towards your chest. The lower abdomen is usually tender, particularly in the lower right-hand side.
Other symptoms that may occur include the following.
Feeling sick and being off food is typical. You may vomit.
Fever and generally feeling unwell.
Constipation may occur. Sometimes diarrhoea.
Frequent passing of urine may develop. This is thought to be due to the inflammation irritating the nearby ureter (the tube between the kidney and bladder).
If the appendix perforates (bursts) then severe pain can spread to all the abdomen. You also become very ill.
In some cases, the symptoms are not so typical. For example, in some cases the pain may develop more slowly and run a more smouldering course. The pain may also start in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. Also, the pain may not become severe until the appendix perforates. The site of the pain may not be typical if the appendix lies in an unusual place.