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Appendicitis in Children

A blockage inside the appendix is what causes appendicitis in children. In order to make a diagnosis, doctors usually perform a physical examination, ask for a medical history, and order certain tests, including laboratory tests and imaging tests. Treatment for appendicitis often requires surgery to remove the appendix.

Appendicitis in Children: An Overview

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Once the condition begins, there is no effective medical therapy. Therefore, it is considered a medical emergency. When appendicitis is treated promptly, most patients recover without difficulty. However, if treatment is delayed, the appendix can burst, causing infection and even death.
Although anyone can get appendicitis, it occurs most often in people between the ages of 10 and 30.

Understanding the Appendix

The appendix is a small, tube-like structure that is attached to the first part of the large intestine, also called the colon. It is located in the lower-right portion of the abdomen (stomach), and it has no known function. Removal of the appendix appears to cause no change in digestive function.

Why Do Children Get Appendicitis?

In children, appendicitis is caused by a blockage of the inside of the appendix, also known as the lumen. Common causes of blockage include:
  • Feces
  • Infections that lead to swelling
  • Trauma.
(Click Causes of Appendicitis for more information.)
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