When is that belly ache more than a passing pain?
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the intestinal lining of the appendix, a small finger-shaped flap of skin that is affixed to the end of the colon. Doctors don’t really know the purpose of the appendix, but it occurs most often in children aged 10 – 19 and is the most common reason for emergency surgery in children. Severe abdominal pain requires medical attention, as appendicitis requires emergency surgery to prevent the rupture of the appendix, which can be fatal.
What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
Children with appendicitis may have symptoms similar to other gastrointestinal issues, most commonly gastroenteritis and food poisoning. If your child is complaining of severe pain, not playing or eating, and experiencing any of the symptoms below, they should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
- Pain in the abdomen – may start in the center, just below the belly button, but move lower and to the right side
- Intensified pain when the abdomen is pressed and then released suddenly
- Intense pain that causes your child to bend in the middle, either while standing or walking, or laying down curled in the fetal position
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal bloating or a distended belly (especially in children younger than 2)
Can I prevent appendicitis?
Appendicitis is not preventable, though it only occurs in about 7% of the population and predominantly in children. It is not hereditary, and it is not contagious.
If your child exhibits the above symptoms and they do not subside quickly, they need to see a doctor in order to rule out appendicitis or to get an appendectomy. Go to the emergency room or call your doctor if pain seems to be intensifying or moving to the lower right side. The earlier appendicitis is found, the more likely the appendix can be removed prior to rupture.
All Neighbors Emergency Center locations are equipped to handle any adult or pediatric emergency.