Pedia 101: How Dangerous is Appendicitis for Children?

child in pain

Children have much lower pain tolerance levels than adults, which is why minor injuries can already make them wince in pain. While parents are trained not to panic when their children throw tantrums over pain, it’s worth considering the opposite end of the spectrum. Since children are less used to pain signals, they can be in agony over more severe medical conditions.

Appendicitis is characterized as the painful swelling and infection of the appendix. It’s vital to receive medical attention when this occurs, especially since this can occur at any time in a person’s life. This is an even more dangerous situation among children, especially those with other medical conditions.

How Does Appendicitis Happen?

Appendicitis occurs due to one of three causes. First, when a person’s appendix is blocked by nose or mouth fluid called mucus. Second, when the appendix is inflamed due to stool contamination or parasites. And third, when the appendix is forcibly bent or twisted.

Once any of the three situations above occur, the appendix will become sore and swollen, leading to faster reproduction of germs in the appendix. This will lead to increased soreness and force blood supply to be cut off, causing great internal pain.

What Happens When Appendicitis Isn’t Treated?

Once blood flow is cut off to the appendix, it will start to die inside the person’s body. It then bursts or ruptures and allows stool, mucus, and other harmful substances to reach the abdomen’s adjacent organ systems. Without immediate treatment, this can lead to peritonitis or infection on the belly. This can be a fatal condition, depending on the circumstances.

Who Is at Risk of Getting Appendicitis?

Children must undergo a health history and physical to determine if they have appendicitis. An abdominal ultrasound may be used to visualize the child’s internal organs and see potential ruptures in the appendix. A CT scan or blood test may also be used to detect signs of inflammation or infection.

What Are the Early Signs of Appendicitis?

Each child may feel the symptoms of appendicitis differently. For this reason, you must be vigilant about the collection of symptoms they present.

The pain of a ruptured or inflamed appendix usually manifests around the belly area. Afterward, it can move to the lower right or left side of the belly. If your child’s pain doesn’t subside or feels worse while moving or being touched, it could be a sign of an inflamed appendix.

Other symptoms of appendicitis include constipation, loose stool, or fever and chills. These are due to the compromised appendix and the spread of bacterial infection in the abdomen. If your child has these symptoms and more, it’s best to rush them to the nearest emergency clinic.

Is Surgery Necessary for Appendicitis?

The general solution for appendicitis among adults is to receive an appendectomy, or surgical removal of the appendix. However, a pediatrician may advise your child to receive antibiotics instead, depending on their situation.


The natural problem with appendicitis is that it can occur during a person’s youth, teens, or even never at all. This is why it’s generally safer to have an appendectomy when possible. However, not all families can afford to undergo this procedure. For this reason, it’s necessary to stay alert and be aware of appendicitis’ warning signs to get the right medical treatment immediately.

At Your Kids Urgent Care, we strongly believe families should still receive quality healthcare services for their children, even when their primary care pediatrician is not available. If you need to receive urgent care for kids in Orlando, FL, contact us today.

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