There are many causes of stomach 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.
- Abdominal (belly) pain. The pain may be colicky at first, coming in waves located in the middle of the stomach. This will progress to severe pain that tends to gravitate to the lower right portion of the abdomen, the most common location of the appendix.
- Although usually not forceful, vomiting almost always occurs at the onset of acute appendicitis.
- As the inflammation progresses, fever may occur.
- Sweating and pallor, or paleness of skin may also occur.
- Presence of pain on examining the belly
- A rise in the white blood cell count
- Use of imaging techniques such as a CT scan may be useful if diagnosis is in doubt
- Appendicitis is rare under two years of age, but it must be ruled out in children of any age by careful examination by a qualified medical examiner
Appendicitis is an emergency condition. In children, rupture of the appendix is 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 stomach ache be sure to seek medical advice.
By Dr. Olson Huff