Have you heard of appendicitis? It seems counterintuitive that a portion of the body that does not play a role can create a problem in the human body. However, that is precisely what the appendix can do. The appendix is located in the lower right portion of the abdomen. It has been a long-term discussion of the actual part that the appendix plays. The answer remains unknown.
When the appendix encounters a problem, it results in appendicitis. At Carithers Pediatric Group, we know that explaining the signs of this issue can save children from pain and potentially serious consequences.
What is appendicitis?
Appendicitis is when the appendix gets inflamed, causing pain in the lower right area of the abdomen. It is the most common cause of emergency abdominal surgery in children. Alongside this, it appears most frequently in school-aged children. When it first occurs, people tend to notice pain near the naval area before it moves to other parts of the abdomen.
How is it caused?
The appendix can become inflamed as a result of multiple problems. It is often associated with hard mucus or stool blocking the appendix in children. However, it can also be connected to a virus. When the swelling is left untreated, the appendix can burst, leading to the contents of the appendix being released into the abdomen, bringing the infection even more widespread into the body.
What are the signs of appendicitis?
While there are many symptoms and signs of appendicitis, it ultimately depends on the child. It is important to attempt to identify it quickly to prevent the possibility of the appendix rupturing. The Cleveland Clinic explains the most common symptoms to watch out for in your child. These include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain in the lower right area of the child’s abdomen, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and a fever.
How does the diagnosis occur?
Your child’s doctor can diagnose appendicitis after doing a physical exam. This entails finding the areas where the pain is located and discussing with the child the details of how they are feeling. During this exam, they will also inquire about your child’s symptoms and health history. In some cases, the doctor will order a urine and blood test to determine the presence of an infection.
How is appendicitis treated?
How a doctor treats appendicitis depends on the severity of the situation. In more minor cases, the condition can be treated with a course of antibiotics. However, the other option in this situation is to remove the child’s appendix. This surgery is called an appendectomy. It is done in two main ways: a laparoscopic or a laparotomy method.
A laparoscopic procedure is when the doctor makes small incisions in the lower right abdomen. They insert a video camera through an incision. From here, small tools are used to remove the appendix through one of the incisions. The other option is a laparotomy when the doctor makes one large incision in the lower right abdomen. This is typically reserved for ruptured appendixes.
What is the recovery like?
The recovery from appendicitis is dependent on the case as well. If the appendix did not burst, children can go home after one night in the hospital and sometimes even on the same day as the surgery. However, perforated appendicitis requires the child to be in the hospital for around five days to receive more antibiotics to prevent an infection from spreading.
Appendicitis is not something to ignore. The implications of a prolonged absence of treatment can make all of the difference. By understanding the condition, you can watch out for the symptoms in your child. Have you noticed signs in your child that seem to link to appendicitis? It may be time to contact Carithers Pediatric Group to determine if something serious is happening. Check out our website for more information.