Appendicitis in children is a serious condition

  • Jan 23 , 2017

Appendicitis is generally caused by an abdominal infection that has spread to the appendix or by an obstruction that has blocked up the appendix. It requires immediate medical attention. Mostly people between the ages of 10 and 19 years are affected by appendicitis. A simple stomachache is a very common symptom, particularly in children. And is often not a cause of appendicitis.

So, if your child is suffering from stomachaches for the following reasons, then it is not life-threating:

  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Mild food allergies
  • Strep throat

But if your child’s abdominal pain intensifies or lasts for more than two days, these simple stomachache symptoms can turn into a sign of serious condition.

The issues that could cause abdominal pain, include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancerous tumors
  • A urinary tract infection
  • A stomach ulcer
  • Gallstones
  • Complications that twist or block the bowel, such as a hernia.

Photo Courtesy: Baby Center

The abdominal pain usually worsens and moves to the lower right side of the belly. So, it is important to know its symptoms.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling

Along with abdominal pain, most children with appendicitis often experience fever and a sharp pain that develops after applying pressure on the lower right abdominal area known as ‘rebound tenderness’.

Most studies suggest that kids between the ages of 2 and 5 most often experience stomachaches and vomiting if they have appendicitis, fever and loss of appetite. And for babies less than 2 years old, appendicitis usually causes vomiting, stomachaches, and fever.

Treating appendicitis in children

An appendectomy is the standard treatment for appendicitis in children, which involves the surgical removal of the appendix. It is important to catch appendicitis in its early stages. Otherwise, the appendix can rupture and cause an infection of the peritoneum, also called as peritonitis.

Appendicitis is more difficult to diagnose in children than adults, and around 30 percent of kids suffers from ruptured appendix before being treated. Intravenous (IV) fluids and antibiotics will help prevent complications before and decrease the risk for wound infections after surgery.

However, research published suggested that kids recover quicker and are less likely to suffer from post-surgery complications. If their ruptured appendices are removed within 24 hours of diagnosis.