What is Appendicitis? Information about the symptoms, causes of Appendicitis in children.
Appendicitis; There are some common notions about appendicitis. There isn’t necessarily any fever. The pain isn’t necessarily severe. The pain doesn’t usually settle in the lower right side of the abdomen until the attack has been going on for some time. Vomiting doesn’t always occur. A blood count doesn’t prove that a stomach-ache is or isn’t due to appendicitis.
The appendix is a little offshoot from the large intestine, about the size of a short earthworm. It usually lies in the central part of the right lower quarter of the abdomen. But it can be lower down, or over toward the middle of the abdomen, or as far up as the ribs. When it becomes inflamed, it’s a gradual process, like the formation of a boil That’s why a sudden severe pain in the abdomen that lasts a few minutes and then goes away for good isn’t appendicitis. The worst danger is that the inflamed appendix will burst, very much as a boil bursts, and spread the infection all through the abdomen. This is called peritonitis. An appendicitis that is developing very rapidly can reach the point of bursting in less than 24 hours. That’s why any stomach-ache that persists for as long as 1 hour should be seen by a doctor, even though nine out of ten cases prove to be something else.
In the most typical cases, there is pain around the navel for several hours. Only later does it shift to the lower right side. There is apt to be vomiting once or twice, but it doesn’t always occur. The appetite is usually diminished, but not always. The bowels may be normal or constipated rarely loose. After it’s gone on a few hours, the temperature is apt to be elevated to 100 or 101°, more or less, but it’s possible to have real appendicitis without any fever at all. The person may feel more pain when he pulls his right knee or when he stretches it way back, or when he walks around. You can see that the symptoms of appendicitis vary lot in different cases and that you need a doctor to make the diagnosis. The doctor is guided most by whether he jjnds a tender area in the right side, as he feels deeply but gently into every part of the abdomen. You will notice that doesn’t ask whether it hints every time he pokes, but on the contrary tries to distract the child from what he is doing. This is because many children with a pain in the stomach, especially young ones, are delighted to say, “Yes, that hurts,” every time they are asked. When the doctor finds a tender spot in the right side of the abdomen, he is suspicious of appendicitis, but he sometimes likes to have a blood count to help him decide. A raised blood count just says there is infection somewhere. It doesn’t say where.
It’s often impossible for the most expert of doctors to be absolutely sure whether or not a child has appendicitis. When there is much suspicion he advises operation, and for a very good reason. If it is appendicitis, it is dangerous to delay; but if it is not, no great harm has been done by the operation.
***This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a doctor warning or recommendation.