Signs of Appendicitis in Children

Dr. Kevin Buckwalter practices family medicine in Henderson, Nevada, where he regularly sees patients with common childhood illnesses. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter also has built extensive experience treating patients in a hospital setting.

Stomach aches are one of the most common everyday symptoms in children, and parents can find it difficult to tell when the pain signals something more serious than gas or constipation. Appendicitis stands out as a more serious cause of stomach pain, particularly as its symptoms can be vague in children. Adults typically present with a classic symptomatology that includes lower-right quadrant pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. However, physicians have found that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate appendicitis in children.

In conducting an in-depth study of pediatric appendicitis, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that a more reliable predictor is rebound tenderness in the lower-right abdomen. If a child has appendicitis, applying pressure to the lower belly and subsequently letting go will more than likely worsen the pain. In addition, appendicitis pain in children typically begins around the navel and travels to the lower right. Physicians recommend that parents in doubt seek medical attention.

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