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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.

Join The Conversation
CoMMember13631161529953 CoMMember13631161529953 5 years
My son had his rupture when he was 3yrs old,,,misdiagnosed by the Er staff at our local hospital,,,and caught 2 days later by my is very dangerous illness,,,,he had emergancy surgery and spent the next ten days in the hospital....Always Always ask questions and push the doctors if it doesnt feel right to you!!!!!
TonyaLawson TonyaLawson 5 years
My appendix ruptured and many other things internally then ruptured when after 3 trips to the WE misdiagnosed me. By the time the Dr finaly figured it out they had nearly killed me. All they kept asking me was if I could be pregnant. I was 16 and a virgin. I then went through the surgery where they found my abdomen full of gangerine . I spent nine days in the hospital four of those days in icu. 30 days later I was back in surgery because they had failed to get all the infection out the first time. There went another week in the hospital. This all happened the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I wish the doctors had listened from the start instead of making groundless assumptions as to my character.
ElizabethLarlhamOala ElizabethLarlhamOala 5 years
Stomach pain isn't always the first indicator. I had appendicits, and the pain started in the middle of my back THEN radiated around to the middle of my stomach and down to the lower part of my abdomen. I had no idea that it could start in my back, until the doctor told me that, THAT is actually the MOST common first symptom. People will think they've pulled a muscle (like I did) or overdone something, and just rest, when really it's their appendix swelling. By the time mine came out it was covered in gangrene and about to burst. OH, and they told me I was pregnant...=)
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