Appendicitis In Children – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Appendicitis In Children – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

9 Aug 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 625 Articles

Appendicitis is an infection or inflammation of the appendix, a pink, tube-like structure that’s a part of the large intestine. The inflammation is commonly caused by a small, hard piece of faeces that gets stuck in the tube of the appendix. If the appendix is inflamed, it has to be removed with an operation called an appendectomy.

If the swelling and infection are left untreated, the appendix might burst and get ruptured. A ruptured appendix can spread bacteria throughout your little one’s abdomen and can also cause a serious infection called peritonitis.  Although appendicitis can affect anyone, it is more common in children. Read on to know more about its symptoms and treatment options.

Causes Of Appendicitis In Children

Although the causes of appendicitis in a child are not always known, it is usually caused by a blockage at the opening of your child’s appendix. It also can be caused by:

  • Digestive tract infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Abdominal infection
  • Stool or the growth of parasites inside your child’s appendix
appendicitis symptoms
Abdominal pain due to appendicitis can be accompanied by a low-grade fever. | Image Source: pexels

7 Symptoms of Appendicitis In Children

Although the appendicitis symptoms might vary from child to child, some of the common symptoms are:

  1. Elevated heart rate
  2. Nausea and vomiting
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Low-grade fever
  5. Abdominal pain and swelling
  6. Constipation and even diarrhoea
  7. Inability to pass gas or stool

Diagnosis of Appendicitis In Children

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and recommend a physical exam. They might also order blood and urine tests to check for infection.

appendicitis
Sometimes, appendicitis in children can be treated with antibiotics alone. | Image Source: pexels

Treatment of Appendicitis In Children

Sometimes, appendicitis in children can be treated with antibiotics alone. However, appendicitis is treated by removing your child’s appendix in most cases through surgery. It is performed in one of the two ways:

  1. Laparoscopic: During this process, a surgeon makes several small incisions in your child’s lower right abdomen and will then place a video camera through one of the incisions. With the help of surgical tools, the surgeon will remove your child’s appendix through incisions. It has a shorter recovery time and a lower infection rate.
  2. Laparotomy (open): The surgeon makes one larger incision in your child’s lower right abdomen. It is used in more complicated cases of appendicitis and has a longer recovery time.

Complications That Might Arise After Surgery

Sometimes, complications might occur after an appendectomy with more advanced cases of ruptured appendicitis and can include:

  • Infections that can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Abscesses or pockets of pus can also be treated with antibiotics. However, bigger abscesses might need to be drained.
  • Small bowel obstructions in which there might be partial or complete blockage of the small intestine. This might require surgery.

Recovery from Appendicitis

Most of the time, children recover quickly after surgery. There are no diet or lifestyle changes as such. The doctors might ask children to limit their physical activity for the first three to five days of recovery who had laparoscopic surgery.

However, children who had laparotomy surgery are advised to take rest for 10 to 14 days before engaging in any physical activity.

Although appendicitis can be difficult to recognize, it is advisable to consult a doctor right away if your child’s symptoms are different from their typical stomach virus as prevention is always better than cure.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of the information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.
Cover Image Credit: pexels
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