16/05/2017 11:27 BST | Updated 17/05/2017 17:24 BST

Appendicitis Symptoms And Treatment Explained After Emma Willis Reveals She Had Emergency Surgery

The presenter mistook her symptoms for 'trapped wind'.

Emma Willis has undergone emergency surgery after being diagnosed with a case of appendicitis.

The presenter visited A&E with a stomach ache, which she originally dismissed as a “bad case of trapped wind”.

But doctors soon discovered she had a “horribly infected appendix” which needed to be removed.

Willis is now recovering at home, but would you recognise symptoms of the illness?  

PA Archive/PA Images
Emma Willis

What Is Appendicitis?

According to the NHS, appendicitis is a painful swelling of the appendix, which is a small pouch connected to the large intestine. 

It’s unclear what causes this swelling, but it’s thought to be linked to a blockage to the entrance of the appendix.

“For example, a blockage may be formed by a small piece of faeces or an upper respiratory tract infection could lead to a swollen lymph node within the wall of the bowel,” the site explains. 

Doctors do not know why we have an appendix, so removing it is not harmful. 

Symptoms Of Appendicitis

The first symptom of appendicitis is usually pain in the middle of the tummy, which travels to the lower right-hand side of the torso and becomes severe.

The NHS advises that other symptoms can include:

  • feeling sick (nausea)

  • being sick

  • loss of appetite

  • diarrhoea

  • a high temperature (fever) and a flushed face

Symptoms of appendicitis are similar to those of IBS and constipation, making it difficult to detect. But if you experience pain that gradually gets worse or becomes constant, you should seek medical advice.

Treatment Of Appendicitis

There is no one way to test for appendicitis, but if your GP or a doctor at A&E suspects you’re experiencing symptoms, you will be given a series of tests - such as blood tests and a CT scan - to help diagnose the illness.

If doctors believe you have appendicitis, you will need an operation to have your appendix removed.

According to Bupa, the operation to remove your appendix is called an appendicectomy.

“It’s done under general anaesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the operation. Nowadays this is usually done by keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). You will usually be able to go home after a few days in hospital and recover at home,” the site explains.

“If you have a more traditional operation, a larger cut will be made in your lower abdomen (tummy) and the appendix removed through the operation site. This may result in a longer recovery period in hospital.

“Very occasionally you may just be put on a course of antibiotics and observed.”

Bupa says doctors sometimes examine the appendix once it has been removed and realise the cause of the patient’s pain wasn’t appendicitis. However, “the benefits of having the surgery outweigh the risks” of complications if treatment is delayed. 

If appendicitis is not treated, it can cause the appendix to burst, which can cause a severe bowel infection and lead to the formation of abscesses within the abdomen.