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Appendicitis in Children

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is inflammation of your child's appendix. The appendix is a small pouch. It is attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. The appendix may get blocked by food or by part of a bowel movement that becomes hard. It can also become infected with bacteria or a virus. Appendicitis can also be caused by a parasite or tumor. Your child will need immediate care to prevent a ruptured appendix. A ruptured appendix can cause bacteria to flow into the abdomen. This can lead to a serious infection called peritonitis.

Abdominal Organs

What are the signs and symptoms of appendicitis?

The most common symptom is pain that starts at the belly button and moves to the lower right side of the abdomen. The pain worsens when your child touches his or her abdomen, moves, sneezes, coughs, or takes a deep breath. Appendicitis may be difficult to recognize in young children. Your young child may cry constantly or not want to be held or moved. Your older child may be able to tell you about any symptoms. Your child may also have any of the following:

How is appendicitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your child and check for pain or tenderness in the abdomen. Any of the following may also be needed:

How is appendicitis treated?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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