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Appendicitis in Children

Appendicitis refers to the inflammation of the appendix. It may cause a lot of pain in the abdomen besides the many other symptoms. However, appendicitis may be treated by removing the appendix from the patient’s abdomen. If left untreated, this may lead to the appendix bursting and spilling infectious material into the person’s abdomen. This can cause further medical complications. This condition occurs when the appendix is blocked by an infection. Given below are some of the commonly asked questions about appendicitis in children that have been answered by the Experts.

How can one tell the difference between pains caused due to stomach cramping and appendicitis?

In some cases, there may be no particular way of being able to tell the difference between pain caused due to stomach cramping and appendicitis. Even if the child is taken to an ER (emergency room), the doctors may still have to conduct certain tests to determine whether the pain is due to appendicitis or not. One of the characteristics of stomach pain due to appendicitis is that it may start at the belly button and move to the right lower quadrant of the stomach. However, in some cases the pain may be constant and may often increase over a few hours.

Is there a condition like chronic appendicitis?

There may be a condition called recurrent appendicitis which is similar to a chronic one. Repeated ultrasonography may be done to determine whether the child has recurrent appendicitis or not.

What are the symptoms of appendicitis in a child?

When a child has appendicitis, sometimes the first symptom that may be seen is abdominal pain near the navel area. This pain may move to the right lower quadrant of the abdomen. Besides this, the child may also have nausea, loss of appetite, loss of bowel movements and fever in some cases. The child may also show shock and lethargy if the appendix ruptures. All of these symptoms may present themselves within 3-4 days.

What could be the cause and treatment for a 7 year old child that has severe stomach pain, diarrhea and a fever. The pain is located between the child’s hips and navel.

The symptoms mentioned above may indicate that the child may be having appendicitis. However, the child may need to be immediately checked by a doctor to confirm or rule out the diagnosis. Most children with appendicitis will have diarrhea and severe pain between the navel and the hips. If appendicitis is confirmed, then this may need to be treated with an appendectomy. This is a procedure of surgically removing the appendix.

Is it possible to diagnose appendicitis in a child with blood tests and an X-ray?

It may not be possible to diagnose appendicitis with the help of blood tests and an x-rays. The child may also require a CT (computed tomography) scan to diagnose the condition. If the condition is confirmed, the child may require immediate treatment as appendicitis may last for only a few days. If not treated immediately, the appendix may rupture and this can lead to serious medical complications which can sometimes be fatal.

What could be the cause of an 11 year old child that has been complaining of stomach pain around their belly button, little nausea, throwing up and a low grade fever?

Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and a fever may indicate that the child may be having a stomach infection. The pain could also be caused due to appendicitis. If it is a stomach infection, the child may be given Pedialyte and lots of water to maintain the balance of electrolytes within the body. However, if it is not a stomach infection, then the child may require immediate evaluation from a pediatrician to rule out appendicitis. However, in some cases, the doctor may have to take an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Appendicitis may cause unbearable pain and other symptoms like nausea and fever in children. In most cases, appendicitis may require immediate medical attention and treatment. It is never easy for parents to see their children suffer. Parents may feel helpless and may not know what to do if their child has excruciating stomach pains. It is important to diagnose and treat appendicitis on time. If not treated on time, it can lead to other serious problems. Not all parents may be aware of the symptoms and treatment of appendicitis. It may also not be possible for parents to research on their own about the condition when their child is suffering because of the pain. At such times, you may speak to an Expert and ask them any questions that may be specific to your child’s condition. Getting the right information at the right time will help you provide the correct treatment for your child and will prevent any medical complications as well.
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