Appendicitis symptoms in children sometimes difficult to recognize. While the appendicitis affects small organ in digistive system, it can be a big problem.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of a small organ called appendix in the intestine. Appendicitis occurred when the appendix blocked for some reasons. There are many things that could block the appendix, such as hardened stool, infection, or inflammation in the lymph nodes located in the intestines. For more detail about it please read What Causes Appendicitis in Children, Elderly, or Pregnancy Women?
According to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, about 70.000 children experience appendicitis in the U.S each year. Appendicitis affects more boys than girls.
Appendicitis almost leads children to perform surgery; it means that it is very serious disease. One of the appendicitis serious problems is when the appendix ruptures; bacteria will be released into the abdominal cavity. This condition leads to peritonitis or severe infection and pain.
Ruptured appendix is experienced 20 – 30 % of children.
Appendicitis Symptoms in Children
Mostly children cannot always speak in full words or describe the symptoms well. Because of that, you should recognize appendicitis symptoms in your children.
Appendicitis starts as severe pain around children bellybutton. The location of the pain is right in lower right quadrant of the children’s abdomen. Symptoms your children could experience include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Frequent urination and pain with urination
- Low grade fever
- Poor appetite
- Stomach pain, especially in the lower right abdomen
According to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, most of children with appendicitis are between 8 to 16 years old. However, children under 5 years old could suffer from appendicitis.
Children with appendicitis often have more serious effects of it because they cannot talk about their symptoms. You have recognized appendicitis in children as soon as possible. Children are noticeable pain when moving, coughing, sneezing, or touching their abdomen only.
The worse things, sometime the doctors may think that appendicitis is another condition because of its similarity toward other conditions. The conditions where really similar with appendicitis in children include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney stones
- Severe constipation
When to Call Your Child’s Doctor
Just like we said before that appendicitis is a serious condition. If you think your children may have appendicitis, it is very important to see a doctor quickly. Do not postpone it!
If your children have appendicitis and aren’t diagnosed in 48 hours, the chances that your children’s appendix could burst or rupture increase greatly. If you found appendicitis symptoms in your children such as elevated heart rate, frequent urination and pain with urination, low grade fever, poor appetite, stomach pain (especially in the lower right abdomen), and vomiting
If you have seen the child’s doctor, the doctor will ask some questions about your children’s appendicitis symptoms. The doctor may also order imaging test such as like an ultrasound, CT scan, or X-ray. Other test such as blood and urine tests can also help to make sure the appendicitis diagnosis in children.
The difficulty with appendicitis is that no one test can definitively say children have appendicitis correctly.
So the doctors has to make his best guess based on your children’s symptoms and any test results.
Surgery is the only way to definitively determine if your children’s appendix is affected.
What Treatments Are Available for Appendicitis?
The only way and the most effective treatment for children with appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix (Appendectomy).
No need to worry about the coast if your children’s appendix hasn’t burst, they will be prescribed antibiotics and the appendix will require removal.
However, the serious thing, if your children’s appendix has ruptured, the children need appendix removal and irrigation of the abdomen cavity.
Appendix removal and abdomen cavity irrigation is a larger surgery to ensure the bacteria present inside the appendix do not travel to other parts of the abdomen and cause a serious infection.
Children whose appendix has ruptured often have to be hospitalized at the hospital for certain days. It is important so that the children receive intravenous antibiotic longer. It should be performed because the risk of infection is so high.
How to Help Your Child Understand What Is Happening
It is quite difficult to make your children understand what is happening when they need surgery.
Appendicitis condition needs emergency surgery; you don’t always have a lot of time to prepare your children. These are some tips for you so that you can approach your children as much as possible:
- First of all, you have to explain your children condition that they have a problem. The problem must be fixed at the hospital. Do not ever say words like “cut” or “open you up”. It is very important because those words could create extra fear for you children.
- Explain honestly to your children that the surgery could help their condition. Tell you children no need to worry, the children will not feel the pain during the surgery because they are sleep.
- Remind your children that the surgery isn’t because they were bad or because of anything they did before.
- Tell you children that you will be there for your children so that your little one feel better.
- Before and after the surgery, you may provide distractions such as buying new books or toys or visits from a favorite TV serial.
Outlook for Appendicitis Symptoms in Children
It is very important that a children experiencing appendicitis receive medical attention quickly.
While Appendicitis rarely is deadly for children, but it can be if untreated immediately. Knowing the first appendicitis symptoms in children is helping. If your children’s symptoms are different from their typical stomach virus, seek immediate medical treatment. Once more, recognizing appendicitis symptoms in children is better and safer than sorry.
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