When a tummy ache is, well, a bit more than a tummy ache.

Thee are many causes of tummy aches, nausea and vomiting in children. One that requires immediate medical attention is appendicitis.

Inflammation of this small finger like appendage located at the first part of the large intestine causes significant pain and is one of the most common reasons for surgery in young children.

Symptoms:

  • Belly (abdominal) pain. The pain may be colicky at first, that is , coming in waves., and be located in the middle of the belly. This will progress to severe pain that tends to gravitate to the most common location of the appendix and that is in the lower right portion of the abdomen.
  • Vomiting. Although usually not too forceful, vomiting almost always occurs at the onset of acute appendicitis.
  • Fever. As the inflammation progresses, fever may occur.
  • Sweating and pallor (pale skin).

Diagnosis:

  • Appendicitis is rare under two years of age but must be ruled out by careful examination by a qualified medical examiner at any age.
  • Presence of pain on examining the belly.
  • A rise in the white blood count may be seen.
  • Use of imaging techniques such as a CT scan may be useful if diagnosis is in doubt.

Treatment:

Appendicitis is an emergency condition. In children, rupture of the appendix may be more common due to the rapid course of the illness. Surgical intervention is required.

Appendicitis is not always easy to diagnose so if there is any doubt about a tummy ache be sure and seek medical advice.