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Abdominal Pain, Possible Appendicitis (Infant/Toddler)

Abdominal (stomach) pain is common in children. Even infants can have abdominal pain. One possible cause of this pain is an inflamed appendix. The appendix is a small sack attached to the large intestine. If it becomes blocked by stool or undigested food, it can become infected and swollen. This condition is called appendicitis. It is more common in older children, but can affect infants and toddlers.

Appendicitis can very difficult to diagnose in young children. Nonverbal infants cannot describe or vocalize their symptoms. In addition, stomach pain can have many causes. The doctor must rule out other possible causes of the pain. An infant with abdominal pain may stay in the hospital for evaluation. Laboratory and imaging tests may be done. If appendicitis is identified, surgery is often done right away to remove the appendix.

While Waiting For A Diagnosis:

  1. Frequent reexaminations may be recommended until a diagnosis is made or the pain goes away.

  2. Your child may be given IV pain medication. Let the doctor know if your child appears to still be in pain after receiving medication. Also let the doctor know if the pain appears to go away suddenly, even for a short while.

  3. Comfort your child as needed. Try to find positions that ease his or her discomfort. Distractions such as music or reading aloud may also help.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)

  • Continuing pain; inconsolable crying or irritability

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Change in level of consciousness (child becomes groggy, confused, or passes out)

 

 
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