Appendicitis is a common disease in children and adolescents and is one of the main causes of the emergency visit. The basic recommendation is to see the doctor when the symptoms appear.
Appendicitis in children is a common disease. It is produced by the inflammation of the appendix, that small tubular structure that is attached to the colon. Inflammation of the appendix is one of the most frequent causes of emergency abdominal surgery in children and adolescents.
It can occur in children and adolescents of all ages, although it is rare in cases that affect children under 2 years. The most common symptoms vary according to the age of the patient , but any doctor can give a correct diagnosis and make the decision to do the necessary surgery.
Why is appendicitis occurring?
The appendix can be obstructed due to several reasons:
- Presence of a mass of hard and dry fecal matter, which is called fecalite.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes of the intestines.
- Presence of parasites.
When the appendix becomes obstructed, it becomes inflamed and the first symptom appears: pain. At that moment, the bacteria in the faeces reproduce inside them in an accelerated way. The appendix becomes infected and if it is not removed in time it can explode , which seriously compromises the health, even life, of the child.
Main symptoms of appendicitis in children
As the appendix varies in size and location from one person to another, appendicitis in children sometimes presents different and variable symptoms. Also, as they are quite common symptoms, they can be associated with other ailments, from a simple indigestion to something more complex.
Not all of these symptoms concur. For this reason, as soon as a combination of these discomforts appears, you should go to the doctor because you have the experience to diagnose appendicitis in children.
Between 24 and 72 hours after the onset of symptoms, the appendix may burst, so appendicitis must be taken very seriously.
Most common symptoms
1. Abdominal pain
It is the most common symptom. The pain is located around the navel and then migrates to the lower right part of the belly.
It worsens when exercising light pressure, with deep breathing or when moving. There may also be stiffness in the abdominal muscles or pain when evacuating or urinating.
2. Vomiting and loss of appetite
Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite usually come together when there is an appendicitis.
As they are symptoms common to other diseases, being associated with localized pain can be related to appendicitis in children.
When there is inflammation or an infection has started, the body defends itself by creating more white blood cells. When doing a laboratory test, the increase in the number of leukocytesin the blood count is evidenced.
Less frequent symptoms
In the first hours of evolution of the disease fever may appear, especially in children, although it is not common. A high fever may appear when the inflammation has advanced and the appendix has been punctured, whereby the fecal material passes into the abdomen.
5. Diarrhea oe streñimiento
They are not frequent symptoms, but they may appear. The diarrhea is not the usual profuse and liquid evacuation: it is in small quantities and presents mucus.
Constipation is not typical, but it can be part of the picture.
6. Abdominal distension
The abdomen swollen or distended especially occurs in the few cases in which the appendix of a baby is inflamed or in young children.
How are the symptoms according to age?
When the appendix is inflamed in children between 5 and 12 years old and adolescents, the symptoms are usually the same as those of adults: abdominal pain, vomiting and loss of appetite.
- Appendicitis in babies under one year old is very rare . The main symptom is abdominal distension. Second, vomiting and lack of appetite are presented. It is difficult to determine if there is pain because the child can not point to it.
Because the tube of the appendix is so small, it is difficult for obstruction and inflammation to occur.
- In children between 1 and 5 years appendicitis is not frequent. When it occurs, the main symptoms are pain, fever and vomiting . It also emphasizes that when the abdomen is pressed when decompressing, the child complains of intense pain.
- In children between 5 and 12 years old, the typical migration of pain from the center of the abdomen to the lower right may not occur.Some children have a fever, and few have diarrhea.
The solution: go to the doctor
Appendicitis is only treated by removing the appendix by surgery(appendectomy), which should not have major complications. There is no home treatment or natural remedy to treat or deflate the appendix.
If the infected appendix is not removed, it can burst and spread the bacteria. The infection caused by the rupture of the appendix is very serious, it can form an abscess (an infection of pus) or spread throughout the abdomen (what is called peritonitis).
It is rare that a doctor can not give an accurate diagnosis of appendicitis in children, unless there is an abnormal pattern of pain, or when the young child can not describe the symptoms well.
Appendectomy is a regular procedure and after two or three days of hospitalization, the child will return home.