Appendicitis in children

Appendicitis in children

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Appendicitis is defined as inflammation of the appendix. Generally, this is a finger-shaped pouch protruding from the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen. Furthermore, if the inflammation worsens, pain or discomfort intensifies and becomes severe.

Even though anyone can end up with appendicitis, it often occurs among individuals between the ages of 10-30. Generally, the treatment is surgical removal of the appendix.

In most cases, obstruction in the appendix lining that triggers an infection is the usual root of appendicitis. The bacteria rapidly multiply which causes the appendix to become irritated, distended and packed with pus. If not promptly treated, it can rupture.

What are the signs?

Abdominal pain is the distinctive sign of appendicitis. It is important to note that the discomfort often starts as generalized pain or discomfort around the belly button.

Abdominal pain is the distinctive sign. It is important to note that the discomfort often starts as generalized pain or discomfort around the belly button.

With the classic appendicitis, the pain moves to the right lower quadrant over the site of the appendix. In addition, the pain is intensified with movement and the child has a hard time getting comfortable.

Other usual signs include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lastly, abdominal swelling occurs

In some cases, other symptoms include diarrhea, constipation and increased urge to urinate.

Generally, the symptoms typically worsen over 24-36 hours without treatment and the appendix might perforate. Furthermore, the symptoms might worsen with an increase in the abdominal pain along with high fever.

Even though it is prevalent among older children, usually between 12-18 years of age, it can occur among young children as well. A diagnosis is also difficult since young children do not often complain of specific pain in the right lower quadrant and might only appear irritable.


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