Appendicitis – the development of acute inflammation of the appendix (it is also called appendix). An appendix is an intestinal process in the shape of a finger, which is located in the area of the large intestine. Appendicitis, an acute inflammation of it, occurs when bacteria enter the appendix from adjacent, affected lymph nodes or foreign particles that have entered the lumen and blocked the appendix duct.
Acute appendicitis is an urgent surgical pathology that cannot be cured at home with pills. To prevent complications, its rupture or distribution into the abdominal cavity of the contents, it should be removed as soon as possible by the inflamed process.
Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of surgical interventions in the area of the abdominal cavity in children.
Do all children have appendicitis?
Not all children suffer from appendicitis and are operated on. The most susceptible to the appendix are babies who have a hereditary predisposition to the inflammation of the appendix, and boys are more prone to it than girls. The peak age for the development of appendicitis is from 10 to 30 years. It is believed that the risk of appendicitis decreases when foods rich in fiber are included in the diet of children. This helps normalize digestion, increase peristalsis and the promotion of fecal masses.
Appendicitis is rare in young children and is difficult to diagnose. At first it may look like “gastric flu” or food poisoning. Usually such a diagnosis in children of preschool age is made by the method of exclusion, after all other surgical pathologies have been removed.
It is also difficult to determine what causes appendicitis. Opinions of doctors about what causes appendicitis in childhood are divided. It is possible that the appendix may be clogged with food particles and feces mixed with bacteria. The mucus produced by the appendix may thicken and cause a blockage in the duct. Bacteria inside can multiply and cause appendicitis.
Anxiety manifestations: malaise, vomiting, bouts of pain
Naturally, the most obvious symptom of problems is the pain and restless behavior of the child. But no less important are such symptoms as fever (above 38.0), vomiting with complete loss of appetite, painful nausea. The belly of the child will be sensitive to touch. Attacks of vomiting may be repeated against the background of nausea. Although possible and single vomiting at the beginning, and then mostly pain.
Symptoms of appendicitis are similar to those of kidney stones, urinary tract infection, and pneumonia. So even doctors will be difficult to diagnose. If the condition worsens over 1-2 hours, it is important to call an ambulance. At the hospital, a doctor can do an ultrasound, x-ray or CT scan to determine the exact cause of the pain. These painless procedures will help him better assess the condition and identify the cause of problems in the child. He may also perform a blood test simultaneously with urine to eliminate urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or other health problems.
If children complain of soreness in the stomach, eat poorly or are naughty, it is not always easy to understand what the reasons are and how dangerous the situation is. The causes of abdominal pain can be surgical pathologies, such as acute appendicitis and intestinal infections, as well as somatic pathologies or malnutrition. There are situations when the time is very expensive and you need an immediate emergency call, hospitalization and emergency care for your child. In these cases, there is usually vomiting, fever, rash, or other warning signs. In other cases, it is possible to make an appointment with a doctor and an examination in the clinic with the definition of the cause and the appointment of the necessary treatment.
Record to the doctor or ambulance?
It is important to know in what situations an immediate emergency telephone call, hospitalization and emergency treatment are required, and when it is possible to make an appointment with a doctor and be examined at a clinic.
First of all, the reason for calling an ambulance should be a pain in the abdomen on the background of fever, severe nausea and vomiting, expressed anxiety of a child who does not pass for a couple of hours. You also need to call an ambulance, if diarrhea and vomiting, as well as pain in the abdomen occurred in an infant of an early age, they are repeated, which can lead to dehydration. It is dangerous to strain the muscles of the abdomen, bloating without gas and stool for several hours, as well as deterioration, rash.
It is possible to write to the doctor if abdominal pain occurs in connection with meals, quickly passes after emptying the bowels, eating or drinking water. You can also make an entry to the doctor and be examined if there are problems with the stool, against which there is pain in the abdomen, if discomfort occurs at certain times – errors in diet, eating “harmful” food, prolonged fasting or overeating.
Signs of Abdominal Pain
Children do not always, because of their age, say that they have pain in the abdomen. You can suspect the problem if the baby is naughty, has legs with it, he grumbles in the navel, there is a delay in the chair. In addition, many children reflexively strain the abdominal wall with severe pain, do not allow to touch the stomach, scream, take forced posture – on one side with the legs brought to the stomach. In infants, colic associated with age-immature digestion becomes the most common cause of abdominal pain. Older children are signs of allergies, nutritional errors or intestinal infections.
However, if the abdominal pain increases or lasts for more than a day, then this may be a sign of appendicitis.
Older children can easily describe the characteristic signs of abdominal pain and indicate its typical localization. But young children can do little to make parents understand what a baby is worried about. Therefore, it is important to know how to determine appendicitis in children. This is an emergency, and it does not require an appointment with a doctor, but immediate hospitalization and surgery.
Treatment of appendicitis in children
Appendectomy (surgery to remove the affected process) is the standard treatment for appendicitis. The surgeon can make an incision in the abdomen or can use endoscopic instruments for less traumatic surgery.
Appendectomy will require the child to stay in the hospital for 2–3 days. Before and after surgery, antibiotics and intravenous fluids are used, they will prevent complications and reduce the risk of infection. If necessary, the doctor may also give painkillers.