Stomachache or appendicitis? How you can tell


Aubrey Grabein knew that this stomach ache was different.

"It wasn't like my normal stomach pains I've had. It was only on one side, one spot and it was like cramping and squeezing," Grabein said.

"It was just different, it wasn't like I ate something bad. It was a different kind of complaining," Aubrey's mom, Kristen Grabein, said.

Both Aubrey's parents had their appendix taken out, so they recognized the right-sided pain.

"We just decided not to take any chances and take her in to our local pediatrician," her dad, Craig Grabein, said.

That day, Aubrey had her appendix removed. How do parents tell if a child has appendicitis or an everyday stomachache? Location.

"The pain would be above the right hip," said Dr. Ruben Rodriguez, a Texas Children's Hospital pediatric surgeon. "The appendix doesn't explode like a grenade it's more of a rotting process like a banana."

Surprisingly, appendectomies are common in kids. About 1,000 children a year have their appendix out at Texas Children's Hospital. But many wait too long, until the infection has spread.

Four out of 10 children who came to Texas Children's with appendicitis last year got here late. And the difference? After having surgery a child can go home in a day, versus five to seven days. So don't wait.

"If it's hurting really bad ask to go see the doctor," Aubrey said.

Because a quick trip to the doctor if you're not sure, could help your child avoid a week in the hospital.

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