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Appendicitis or Just a Tummy Ache?

Appendicitis or Just a Tummy Ache?

This following information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Each year, some 80,000 children in the U.S. are afflicted with appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix. Because the appendix can burst within 24-72 hours of the onset of symptoms, it's important to act quickly. Here we've rounded up what you need to know about the condition.

Who Gets Appendicitis?

As explains, the age of your child, your family's history with appendicitis, and even the season can play a role in whether they will get appendicitis: "Appendicitis mostly affects kids between the ages of 11 and 20, and is rare in infants. Most cases of appendicitis occur between October and May. A family history of appendicitis may increase a child's risk, especially in males."

While the second decade of life is the most common time to have appendicitis, it also occurs in adults and younger children, and very rarely in newborns.


Appendicitis Symptoms

The most common sign of appendicitis is stomach pain. Of course, between viruses, the flu, food reactions and constipation, moms hear the words "my tummy hurts!" on a regular basis. How do you know if this time your child's stomach pain is appendicitis? 

KidsHealth relays that stomach pain from appendicitis will usually begin near the belly button, and then worsen and move to the lower right side of the belly, where the appendix is located, "perhaps coming and going and then becoming consistent and sharp."

Stomach pain is often accompanied by a low-grade fever, diarrhea, frequent urination and/or a strong urge to urinate, nausea and vomiting, swollen abdomen, and loss of appetite. For children two years old or younger, look for stomach pain, vomiting, and a swollen or bloated abdomen.

If you suspect your child has appendicitis, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor can diagnose the condition and if your child's appendix is infected, it will usually be surgically removed.

This article is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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