Appendicitis in Children
The Appendix is a vestigial organ, which is located in our abdomen, and it is an appendage, which reminds us of the ascent of man. Though it is of limited use, inflammation of the appendix, called appendicitis, can lead to problems. There are two types of appendicitis, the acute type and sub-acute type.
In acute appendicitis the child develops severe pain around the umbilical region which later spreads to right side of the lower abdomen. There is also fever and the child looks acutely ill. If not treated early there is a risk of the appendix rupturing or perforating and this may lead to faecal contamination of the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen resulting in severe shock and even death.
In sub-acute appendicitis, the child develops abdominal pain soon after feeds and sometimes there may be diarrhoea also. The child then remains well for a few days or weeks before another similar bout of abdominal pain occurs. Barium meal studies or an ultrasound scan may have to be conducted to diagnose sub-acute appendicitis.
Cases of acute appendicitis require immediate surgical removal of the appendix whereas in the sub-acute variety, surgery may be scheduled at a convenient time. One cause that has been postulated for appendicitis is the incomplete evacuation of motion. Children should never be told to hurry up while passing motion, for this may deter complete evacuation.
The Indian type of toilets is more conducive to complete evacuation than the Western toilets. With the western style closets becoming popular in India, there is a risk of increased incidence of appendicitis.