The appendix is a tiny pouch that is attached to the large intestine. Scientists are still not exactly sure what its function is, but they do know that if it gets infected, it can cause many painful problems.
You have probably heard of appendicitis, which is when the appendix gets inflamed. This condition can get very painful and requires prompt medical treatment. The last thing you want is for the appendix to burst, as this can lead to complications. That is why we have put together this short guide on everything you need to know about the appendix in teenagers.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
There are around 80,000 cases of appendicitis a year in kids and teenagers across the USA. While children can get appendicitis, it is more likely to occur in individuals between the ages of 10 and 19.
The first sign of appendicitis is tummy pain, which may be mild to start with. It will then get progressively get worse, resulting in severe pain on the right side of the abdomen. If your child is finding it painful to move or breathe, you should get them checked out immediately. Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gas pain
- Swollen tummy
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
If you suspect that your child has appendicitis, then it is essential that you get them checked out as quickly as possible. Your pediatrician will perform a series of tests and decide on the best course of action based on the symptoms.
In the majority of cases, if a child has appendicitis, the appendix will be removed immediately to ensure that there are no further complications. It is perfectly safe for the appendix to be removed, and it should have no impact on the child’s digestive health moving forward.
What Causes Problems with the Appendix
In many cases, appendix problems run in the family. Not every child will get appendicitis, but if there is a family history of appendicitis, you should pay close attention to your child’s digestive health.
Appendicitis can also be caused by fungi, bacteria, or a virus, while kids with Crohn’s disease will be at increased risk of developing appendix problems.
Ways to Help at Home
While there is no way to avoid the onset of appendicitis, there are things you can do to reduce the risk. Making sure that you and your family have a balanced diet is a great place to start.
A high fiber diet is highly recommended, as this helps to develop a healthy digestive tract. Research suggests that appendicitis is lower in people who eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bananas, carrots, broccoli, and potatoes are all great sources of fiber as well as other vital nutrients.
It is also helpful to ensure that your children remain active and drink lots of water, as this will help to keep things moving in the digestive system.