Appendicitis is a medical condition in which the appendix, a small pouch attached to the large intestine, becomes inflamed. This condition is most common in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. The appendix has no known function in the body, but when it becomes inflamed, it can cause severe pain and can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.
The most common symptom of appendicitis in children is abdominal pain. The pain typically starts around the belly button and then moves to the lower right side of the abdomen. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, and a low-grade fever. In some cases, children may also experience a swollen abdomen or tenderness when the area is touched.
The exact cause of appendicitis is not known, but it is thought to be caused by a blockage in the appendix. This blockage can be caused by a variety of things, such as a buildup of feces, a tumor, or an infection. When the appendix becomes blocked, bacteria begin to multiply, causing the appendix to become inflamed and swollen.
The treatment for appendicitis in children typically involves surgery to remove the appendix. This procedure is called an appendectomy. The surgery is usually done as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made, as delaying the surgery can increase the risk of complications. After the surgery, children will typically stay in the hospital for a few days to recover. They may also be given antibiotics to help prevent infection.
While there is no sure way to prevent appendicitis, there are a few things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing the condition. These include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and practicing good hygiene. It is also important for children to be aware of the signs and symptoms of appendicitis and to seek medical attention if they experience any of them.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Appendicitis. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/appendicitis
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Appendicitis. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/Pages/Appendicitis.aspx
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Appendicitis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/appendicitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353727