What are the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children?

Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children

Is it a belly ache or something more serious like Appendicitis?

Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children

Your little one awakens with a tummy ache but it’s not his normal ploy to stay home and watch Sponge Bob, eat cotton candy all day and maybe fit in a little time on his Wii. Something really seems different this time. When tummy aches turn into tears the symptoms of appendicitis in children may be at the forefront of your mind.

Before we talk about the symptoms of appendicitis in children, let’s find out a little more about the appendix itself. The appendix is a small thin organ at the base of the intestine. It is about the size of your child’s pinky. If the opening that leads to the intestine becomes blocked it may become inflamed and often times infected. If the appendix is not removed it risks bursting and spreading infection to other parts of the body, however, it is important to remember that your child can safely live without his or appendix without any adverse side effects. If an appendix is going to burst it is most common for this to happen 24 to 72 hours after the onset of first symptoms.

Appendicitis usually strikes children that are ages 11-20; however, it can strike those younger it is just a less likely phenomenon. Appendicitis is also more likely to occur in boys than girls.

The initial panic that your child could have appendicitis is often overwhelming and frightening. You want to act quickly but you do not want to scare your child. If you suspect your child has appendicitis, call 911 or take him or her to the nearest hospital right away if you can get there faster. In most cases, appendicitis is simple to treat so try not to let your nerves run away with you if possible. It will help to speak words of comfort to your child and to also remind yourself that this too shall pass.

Below is a list of the symptoms of appendicitis in children. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms you should consult your doctor or go to the hospital for further evaluation . . .

  • Significant stomach pain is one of the first symptoms of appendicitis in children. The pain often begins at the belly button and eventually makes its way to the lower right side of the abdomen. The pain may come and go only to become sharp and constant.
  • A low grade fever is a classic sign of appendicitis. The fever stems from both inflammation and/or infection.
  • Diarrhea is one of the common symptoms of appendicitis in children. This is especially true if the diarrhea presents in small amounts and contains mucus.
  • Nausea and vomiting are very classic symptoms with appendix troubles.
  • Stomach dissention, bloating or swelling is also a common telltale sign. This is, however, much more common and noticeable in infants.
  • Frequent urination or an unusually strong urge to tinkle is to be expected in appendicitis.

While all of the above are symptoms of appendicitis in children, the most common are pain and vomiting. If your child’s appendix bursts your child’s fever will spike up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. Your child’s pain may also become wide spread across the entire abdomen.

It is important that you not give your child anything to eat or drink if you believe he or she has appendicitis. If you have already done so don’t beat yourself up. Simply stop liquids and solids. Remember that appendicitis is very, very seldom fatal. Appendicitis is a very common problem in childhood and the surgery is very safe. The opening needed to remove the appendix is very small. Even if the appendix bursts it is still possible to remove the appendix safely. If the appendix bursts your child may simply require a longer hospital stay and a stronger dose of IV antibiotics.

Remember, that although the symptoms of appendicitis in children can be tough to determine, it’s always best to be cautious and seek out medical assistance just in case.

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