Appendicitis in Teens: Symptoms and Treatment

June 22, 2019
Appendicitis in teens can be one of the most painful situations. It can have significant risks, even for the patient's life. However, it's a problem that your doctor can fix with a simple surgery.

Appendicitis is an infection or inflammation of the appendix that causes severe acute pain. Generally, it affects people between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. You must treat appendicitis in teens very quickly. To do this, doctors take out their appendix in order to treat this condition.

As the name implies, the appendix is an organ to the right of the large intestine. Generally, it’s between two and three and a half inches long.

Although it’s not clear what the appendix does, specialists do know that physical development during adolescence can make it stop communicating with the intestine.

If you don’t treat it in time, the inflammation can cause strong infections that could even lead to peritonitis. The patient’s life could even be in danger in these situations.

Symptoms of appendicitis in teens

The pain and symptoms of appendicitis in teens are progressive. However, now that you know this condition is common in adolescents, keep an eye out for possible inflammation in their appendix. If treated in time, the operation and recovery will be simple.

These are the main signs of appendicitis in teens:

  • Persistent pain to the right of the belly button
  • Pain that goes down towards the lower part of the abdomen
  • Possible nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty defecating and constipation
  • Constant pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflamed abdomen: it hurts more when you touch it
  • Total or partial loss of appetite
  • High amount of white blood cells
Appendicitis in Teens: Symptoms and Treatment

Possible causes of appendicitis in teens

Remember how much an external infection hurts, and how your skin felt inflamed and tight. Appendicitis in teens can be a result of stressas well as a disorderly lifestyle.

According to specialists, when your body is developing, it’s just as important to follow a healthy and careful lifestyle, just like with younger children. In this stage of life, young patients might not want to go to the doctor.

Between ages 10 and 16, they aren’t adults, but they also aren’t children. Therefore, they might try and deal with the pain and hope it goes away on its own. When this happens, it means that the pus from the infection itself will affect the abdomen.

Additionally, the pain is so intense that just touching the patient’s skin will cause them to scream. At this point, it’s practically impossible to take a single step.

“If you don’t treat it in time, the inflammation can cause strong infections that could even lead to peritonitis.”

What to do when you see symptoms of appendicitis

The most important symptom is intense pain. Although it may look like something else at first, it’s important to go to the doctor. It’s best for the patient to wait lying down as quietly as possible.

In some cases, the infection can advance faster than others. It’s best to rest in a calm environment while you wait for emergency medical services.

Also, don’t take painkillers, eat, or take any other kind of medication. For appendicitis in teens, it’s best to keep fasting and drink lots of fluids. By taking these precautions, your teen can receive his diagnosis and treatment as fast as possible.

Diagnosis

Although doctors can detect appendicitis by touching it, there are a series of medical procedures and tests that doctors need to do to confirm the diagnosis. Then, they can go forward with the operation.

Once patients get admitted to the hospital, they’ll need:

  • Ultrasound
  • White blood cell count
  • Urinalysis to rule out possible infections in the urinary tract
  • Barium enema – a test of the lower intestinal tract
  • Computed tomography
  • Laparoscopy

Treatment for appendicitis: appendectomy

Surgery is the only possible way to get rid of appendicitis in teens. Doctors only do this once they have the results of all the tests. Usually, it’s about two days from when patients enter the hospital and have the operation.

Patients are under general anesthesia for this procedure. Since it’s more common among young people, it’s one of the more routine procedures in any hospital.

Appendicitis in Teens: Symptoms and Treatment

Ways to prevent appendicitis in teens

The following list can help teens take care of themselves and prevent the pain of appendicitis.

  • Follow a balanced diet on a set schedule.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water.
  • Do sports or physical activities of medium intensity regularly.
  • Don’t take aspirin or medications that irritate your intestines.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Chew your food slowly.
  • Don’t postpone going to the bathroom.

In conclusion, although sometimes very healthy people suffer from appendicitis, it doesn’t hurt to do these prevention methods. Additionally, although it’s one of the most common conditions among teens, appendicitis can lead to very serious health complications.

  • Cuervo, J. Apendicitis aguda. Rev. Hosp. Niños (B. Aires) 2014; 56 (252): 15-31 /15. [En línea].
  • Parswa, A. Apendicitis. Manual MSD- Versión para público general. [En línea]