30 answers

How Do You Know If a 4 Yr Old Has Appendicitis?

Before I start, I want you all to know that I talked to a nurse last night and will be getting my son to the doctor today. I was hoping that someone might have some advice for me before I go to the doctor and maybe some insight on their own experiences with their children. If you've had a young child go through appendicitis, I would love to hear from you about what you remember about the experience before they were diagnosed and what advice you might have for questions for the doctor. Here's what's happening with my little man. On Sunday, he threw up 2 times in the morning and then ran around as if nothing was wrong. Two hours later he was snuggled up with me and lethargic and saying that his tummy hurt and this was 2 hours before his nap (I know, he's 4 and still naps?!?!?). So, he took a nap and was fine afterwards and for the rest of the night. He seemed fine yesterday morning. My sister-in-law watched him and she said that he was curled up on the couch crying for about 15 minutes but told her to "go away" and didn't want her to come by him. Last night he said his tummy hurts "right here" and pointed to the right side of him tummy. He seemed fine for about an hour and then said "mommy I'm going to go lay down so my tummy feels better" and then was up and running again within a few minutes. Also, he's been off of pull ups since his 3rd birthday which was over a month ago. He was doing great and first during naps and bedtime, but now seems to be having more and more accidents. So, we've had the lethargy, pain in the right side (none in the left), vomitting and nausea. He hasn't had issues with pooping or a fever and it's all so weird because he's fine one minute and then tired and nauseated the next. I thought that if it in fact was appendicitis that it would hurt all of the time. Help. Has anyone gone through this? Am I crazy thinking that it could be appendicitis?

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So What Happened?™

Oh my gosh....I am completely overwhelmed with all you mommy's out there and your responses to our situation. AMAZING!!! I have never done a blog posting before this incident, but I will if I'm concerned about something again. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! So, here's the final situation on what happened with my little man. As an FYI, during the time I was concerned he did not have a problem pooping and didn't have a fever. His accidents have been pee pee's and occur during nap and bedtime on occasion (it seems like a lot more lately and this I'm thinking is a coincidence). After I posted on mamasource, I hit the web and did a little research and to my surprise everything seemed to add up to Appendicitis with the exception of the poop. But, after reading all of your "real life" situations, I can now say it wasn't. Primarily because he was fine at times. It sounds as though with appendicitis you are pretty immobile and in excruciating pain. Also, the next morning I had him do the jump test off of our kitchen chair and he was fine. His tummy hurt a "little bit" that day, but by lunch time he said his tummy didn't hurt anymore so I cancelled my appointment and vowed to keep a real close eye on him and he's completely back to normal. Now, here's the kicker...my sister-in-law called me last night and my nephew is having the same symptoms, including the fact that only the right side of his tummy was hurting. So, it appears as though we have some strange flu virus going around...beware. Thanks again to all of you amazing mommy's that are just trying to help a "sister" out!!! You Rock!

Featured Answers

Hi I my sisters little boy had appendicitis when he was 4. His temp was up and he was throuwing up. His blood cells was up high. I think it was the white cells. He was in the hospital for a week. I hope everything goes ok for you. lc

My son (5) just went through this and I actually thought that it could be appendicitis as well. I took him to the dr. and he had an ear infection and a cough/cold/virus. I really wouldn't have thought that it could be an ear infection until he started complaining about his ear. The day or so before he was complaining about his right side and, like you said, one minute would be up running around and the next minute he would fall asleep on the couch (he doesn't take naps, so this was unusual). My neighbor suggested I take him to the dr. for the ear infection b/c her kids get them a lot and they complain of body aches and they are lethargic. Hopefully that is all it is....

HI S. I remember my sister she was 5 years old, lots of green vomitting, and she could not even walked. She always complained about her leg and tummy. If it is aphandex he should be more comfy while he pulls his legs to his tummy.

More Answers

I think it COULD be appendicitis, but is there any possibility he is a little constipated? That would cause right-sided pain. Also, if he had a little bug that was causing some stomach upset that may also cause pain in the right side and of course vomiting.

Also, a urinary tract infection could potentially be the cuprit, especially if his accidents are pee. I would expect a fever but not necessarily in every case. UTIs and constipation tend to be more common in kids who have just potty-trained due to nervousness or fear.

Definitely see the doc, but rest assured that appendicitis is relatively rare in young children and usually gets acute fairly quickly, so this is probably something else. Good luck. (by the way I am an RN but NOT in pediatrics so far from expert.)

S.,
My son was 3 1/2 when on a Saturday evening he began throwing up. He slept with us and didn't complain too much of stomach pain, but threw up off and on through the night. Sunday morning he got out of bed, stood up and immediately crumpled onto the floor in so much pain he couldn't stand. We went to the emergency room and after much testing he was in surgery by 2 pm.

They did so much testing because appendicitis is so uncommon in small children and they wanted to be sure. Luckily the doctor (and I) had a hunch from the beginning because all the symptoms fit. She said that the appendix often does perforate in children because it isn't caught in time.

The surgery was laproscopic, took only about an hour and left three tiny scars (one of which is in his belly button). He was up and playing by the next day.

Good luck to you and your son. Go with your instinct because a mother knows when something isn't right with her child. We'll be thinking of you today and please let us know what happens.

C.

I am glad you are going to the doc and hopefully you will be able to figure it out. My daughter went through this experience about 6 months ago. She is also 4. They made her do a simple test, that you can do, to see if he has appendicitis. The simple test is having him jump in place. Crouch down and then jump. If he doubles over in pain, then you have a problem. If he does not it could be simple gas pain. My daughter passed the jumping test. She ended up having a urinary tract infection. Your son may have irritable bowl syndrome as well.

Good luck at the docs and I hope he feels better soon!

S.,
You mentioned that your son's poop was okay inspite of vomiting. When was his last BM? Was it normal? Hard? Is the pain upper or lower right side? When you palpate the area does it get worse when you withdraw your hand? When you say he has accidents is it just with urine? Is he better after he urinates? Abdominal pain is difficult to diagnose. Could it be appendicitis? Maybe, obstruction, maybe. Continue to monitor his temp and in and outtakes.
This is one to be seen by your pediatrician. Appendicitis is usually diagnosed with WBC count and or ultrasound.
Good luck. Let me know the outcome. P. H

I had an appendicitis flare-up when I was 15.I know this is slightly different than your request.But over the years I have shared the info it is simmilar in how it shows-up.I was fine all day,went to the movies with friends had popcorn and pop then all of a sudden I ran to the bathroom to throw-up! I mean from the bottom of my feet throw-up!!I told my freinds they got me home and I proceeded to vomit all night,just as violent as the fist time but by the 3rd time I had nothing left inside.I then began to throw-up stomach bile-green in color.I went to the doctor the next day and simple urin test proved that my appendix was leaking and ready to burst.Emergency surgury and I was as good as new.Oh yeh no other obvious physical feelings-fever,conjestion,coughing.sneezing-nothing but violent vomiting. Good Luck!

I know this sounds crazy, but ask him to jump! Yes jump!
If he can't jump, it's appendicitis. If he can just jump, in the air, then it's not.

For my son, it was. It is what my pediatrician told me to do before I met him at the hospital.

Good Luck

Well first of all no you are not going crazy. I have gone through what you have gone through as well only it ended up being (believe it or not, backed up stool). I took my son for the same symptoms you had (my co-worker also had the same problem and she ended up having backed up stool as well) and we have him a ct scan as well and it ended up being backed up stool. I was concerned because appendicitis runs in my family and now it has slowly trinkled its way down to my nephews as well (my three brothers and father had to have theirs removed). So please check out every option before going under the knife, but don't wait too long because it could be fatal.

Good luck!

My son (5) just went through this and I actually thought that it could be appendicitis as well. I took him to the dr. and he had an ear infection and a cough/cold/virus. I really wouldn't have thought that it could be an ear infection until he started complaining about his ear. The day or so before he was complaining about his right side and, like you said, one minute would be up running around and the next minute he would fall asleep on the couch (he doesn't take naps, so this was unusual). My neighbor suggested I take him to the dr. for the ear infection b/c her kids get them a lot and they complain of body aches and they are lethargic. Hopefully that is all it is....

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