Your body is a complicated machinery. As long as all the parts are working properly, the body functions at its optimum. But the moment something goes wrong, the whole body feels the after effect! Take appendicitis for example. A tiny vestigial organ, the appendix can still cause a lot of troubles!
Appendicitis can hit any person, at any age. The pain that comes with an inflamed appendix can bring even the strongest down. In rare cases, it can even cause serious complications. That is why it is important to take appendicitis seriously and seek immediate medical help.
What Is Appendicitis?
The appendix is a small appendage located on the right of your lower abdomen. Most experts believe that it is a vestigial organ and serves no practical purpose today. But according to new studies, the appendix may be useful for producing good bacteria and keeping your digestion in order (1).
Whatever the doubt about the purpose of the appendix, all experts agree on one point – an inflamed appendix is not good news. The condition when an appendix becomes inflamed is called appendicitis. As mentioned before, appendicitis can occur anytime. But people between the ages of 10 and 30 years are the most likely victims. In fact, teens are at the biggest risk of developing appendicitis.
Causes Of Appendicitis In Teenagers?
It is still not clear as to what exactly causes appendicitis. One thing most experts agree on is that appendicitis is hereditary. If you or your partner’s family has a history of acute appendicitis, your teen can too (2). Other factors that can cause appendicitis include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. All these microorganisms can cause infections and lead to inflammation of the appendix. Diseases like Crohn’s disease also may cause appendicitis (3).
Some of the appendicitis symptoms in teenager include the following:
- Pain:Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of appendicitis. If your teen is complaining of pain in her abdomen that migrates from midsection to the lower right abdomen, she might have an inflamed appendix.
- Nausea And Vomiting: Teens with appendicitis may also experience nausea and vomiting.
- Constipation: Chronic constipation due to low fiber intake is another symptom of appendicitis in teens (4).
- Diarrhea: If your teen has appendicitis, she may also experience diarrhea.
- Fever: Watch out for low fever if you suspect appendicitis.
- Tenderness And Swelling: Tenderness and swelling in the right lower abdomen is another classic symptom of appendicitis.
- Appetite Loss: Another early symptom of appendicitis is appetite loss. If your otherwise healthy eater suddenly goes off food, you need to keep a close eye on her health.
- Elevated White Blood Cells: If you suspect that your teen has appendicitis, get her blood test done. Teens with an inflamed appendix will show an elevated white blood cell count, which indicates that the body is fighting an infection (5).
If you suspect that your teen has appendicitis, rush her to the doctor. When it comes to the appendix, time is of value. A ruptured appendix can cause numerous complications and in extreme cases, can also prove to be fatal (6).
How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed In Teens?
Some of the measures that your doctor may use to diagnose appendicitis include:
- Physical examination
- Review of medical history
- Blood test to check for elevated amount of white blood cells
- CT scan
- Exploratory laparoscopic surgery
How Is Appendicitis In Teens Treated:
Once your doctor is sure that your teen has appendicitis, he may prescribe the following treatment options:
- Surgery: A surgery is the most popular treatment option for treating appendicitis. Both laparoscopic and open surgeries can treat an inflamed appendix.
- Antibiotics: Most people think that appendicitis warrants a surgery. But that is not true! Doctors treat many cases of appendicitis with antibiotics (7).
What Can You Do To Prevent Appendicitis?
If you have a family history of appendicitis, you should take some steps to ensure that your teen stays safe. Here are some easy lifestyle changes that can go a long way in preventing appendicitis:
Eating: Of course eating is important but equally important is when your teen eats! Make sure your teen eats her meals at regular hours. It is also important that your teen chews her food properly and swallows slowly to have a healthy digestive system.
Drinking: Your teen needs a lot of water to stay healthy. So ask her to drink at least eight cups of water every day.
Exercise: Does your teen spend most of her free time in front of the telly? Then encourage her to get physically active.
Medication: Don’t let your teen abuse medication like aspirin and other anti-inflammatory pills. These pills can irritate the gastrointestinal lining and cause appendicitis.
Bowel Movements: Many teens are so busy having fun that they can suppress the urge to go to the bathroom. Teach you’re teen why she needs to head to the bathroom as soon as she gets the urge. Suppressing a bowel movement can harm your teen’s digestive tract.
Appendicitis can cause acute pain and leave your teen with a fragile health. So, if she complains of abdominal pain that refuses to fade away, call your doctor. If the pain is in her right abdomen, a trip to the doctor is a must.
When it comes to appendicitis, You can’t be too careful. So, don’t take a chance and head to the hospital!
Did your teen suffer from appendicitis? What treatment did the doctor advice? Share with us.