Children are seen to develop appendicitis more commonly than adults. It is usually the most common abdominal medical emergency that is seen in children and people younger than 18 years of age. Contrasting to adults, the symptoms of appendicitis vary in children depending on their age. There are times that the condition can go unrecognized and can lead to severe infections, some of which might also be fatal like peritonitis. It is important that a child who is suspected to suffer from appendicitis should immediately be taken to a doctor for physical examination.
Usually, diagnosis of appendicitis in children is difficult, as the symptoms can be confused with some other disease. The symptoms of appendicitis are usually similar to those seen in adults but problem arises because children are unable to explain the discomfort and pain that they are suffering from. Some of the warning signs of appendicitis in children are mentioned below:
• The first symptom is abdominal pain near the belly button, which then moves down to the right side. The child might also complain of rebounding pain that is felt when there is sudden removal of pressure from the right lower abdomen area. Usually, children will not be able to explain the pain, but you can do this small test by pressing the middle area and leaving it. If the pain is more on pressing and becomes intense after releasing of the pressure then it indicates and appendicitis pain.
• The child might suffer from slight fever.
• If it is an appendicitis pain the child will probably not feel like eating. This can be surmounted by a feeling of nausea and vomiting.
• Children with the appendicitis pain have a tendency of frequent urination and are unable to control their bladder for long.
• A slight swelling in the abdomen is also an important sign that indicates appendicitis in children.
Appendicitis in children can easily be confused with other problems of the stomach. There are a number of tests that should be performed to determine appendicitis. Some of the methods that can be used to perform the tests include:
• Physical examination of the area
• Pathological tests and urinary tests
• X-ray of the abdomen and the thoracic area
• CT scans in case the condition is being confused with another disease
The line of treatment of appendicitis in children is the same as that in adults. Once the condition is confirmed then the best way to cure is surgery. Appendectomy is a simple and easy procedure that usually does not involve any complication. Depending on the nature of the method the surgery can be of two types namely:
• Open appendectomy which involves making an incision in the lower abdomen and removal of the appendix.
• A laparoscopic appendectomy, which involves making a very thin incision and removing the appendix with a laparoscope.
Before the surgery is conducted the child is required to stay without food and water for some time and hospitalization is required for two days. If the appendix has burst then the duration of hospitalization is more.