Appendicitis in a child: symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the cecum (appendix) that can occur in both a child and an adult. Without timely treatment, this condition can cause dangerous complications, so parents should be able to recognize the symptoms of appendicitis in children and take action in time.
Symptoms of appendicitis in a child
Appendicitis is the very process of inflammation in an organ called the appendix. It is a process in the form of a tube of sizes from 0.5 to 1.5 cm, and in diameter about 10 mm. This gut is blind, which means there is no way out. For this reason, clogging may occur, which causes inflammation. The appendix in the right lower abdomen is located closer to the groin.
What happens in the body with inflammation?
Inflammation of the cecum is a blockage of its lumen. It can be caused by an increase in lymphoid nodules, calla mass, a foreign body, a tumor, and even a parasite. For these reasons, the process accumulates mucus and excessive multiplication of microbes. All this leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane, the formation of blood clots and tissue necrosis.
Inflammation of the appendix at the very beginning is manifested by abdominal pain. These pains accompany the child for several days, which an adult may not immediately notice. But gradually these pains intensify, the child’s state of health worsens, which can be expressed by inactivity and a bad mood. Parents may notice that their child is trying to lie more and has no appetite. When walking, the pain worsens and gives to the right side. For this reason, the child moves less and lies more.
In acute appendicitis, a child appears:
sharp pain when pressing on the stomach;
In the classic version, abdominal pain is localized in the lower right side. But there are cases in which the location of the appendix is atypical, which causes pain in other areas. So the ailments can be from the back, colon and even the stomach, from where the pain gradually goes down. If the process is closer to the pelvic floor, the child may urinate more often. According to medical statistics, in 70% of children, appendicitis occurs atypically. It can disguise itself as other ailments, which often complicates the diagnosis.
Symptoms in a child under 3 years old
Most often, in children, the pain with appendicitis is not localized in any particular place. In children under three years of age, the pain, as a rule, is not concentrated in any one place. In such cases, the behavior of the baby may signal a problem. Symptoms of appendicitis in a child under 3 years of age:
refusal of food;
temperature increase to 39.5;
dry lips and tongue.
If you touch the baby’s stomach, he can throw his hand away from a sharp pain, kick.
Symptoms in a child 4-7 years old
Children older than three years may experience pain in the center of the abdomen, in the navel, as well as muscle tension in the anterior abdominal wall. Gradually, it sinks lower to the right side. The child can vomit once or twice. There may be a rise in temperature, but it does not exceed 37.5 degrees.
All of the above symptoms are a reason to consult a doctor, arriving at the hospital ward or calling an ambulance. There, the surgeon, based on a physical examination and the results of blood tests and ultrasound, will make a final diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor prescribes a blood test that will indicate acute appendicitis – markers for peripheral blood leukocytes and serum C-reactive protein.
If you suspect acute appendicitis, in no case should:
self-medicate at home;
give painkillers and antispasmodics;
putting a heating pad on the stomach – this can lead to rupture of the process with subsequent peritonitis.
Peritonitis is a dangerous complication, which is inflammation of the peritoneum, due to pus, which is released when the appendix is broken.
The main and most effective treatment for this inflammation is the surgical removal of the appendix and concomitant infection. The faster an appendectomy is performed, the lower the risk of peritonitis. Usually this is a fairly simple operation that does not take much time. If there are complications or an atypical case, the operation may last longer.
With a normal outcome, the patient goes home 7 days after surgery. Over the next week, he also visits a doctor to monitor healing and rule out possible complications. In cases where the seam does not heal well, the doctor may increase the duration of observation.
The child is released from physical activity for some time – you can not run, jump, ride a bicycle. Simply put, you need to let the seam heal. But this does not mean that he needs bed rest. Doctors also recommend moving in order to avoid intestinal adhesions.
There are also no special restrictions on nutrition. The child should just eat right in order to restore bowel function as soon as possible. Food should contain fiber. Vegetable soups are ideal for restoring stools.