Appendicitis represents inflammation of the appendix that may occur from the various reasons. This article will provide information on different appendicitis causes.
What is Appendix?
The appendix is a finger-shaped pouch located on the lower right side of the abdomen. This organ is positioned where the ileum connects to the cecum. If the appendix gets inflamed it leads to appendicitis, a painful condition that cannot be cured or reversed. Appendicitis commonly requires emergency treatment. The treatment involves surgical removal of appendix but its removal doesn’t affect health of a person.
Causes of Appendicitis Appendicitis is commonly caused by obstruction of the appendiceal lumen, which is the hollow center of the organ. Primary obstruction of the appendiceal lumen leads to appendicitis attack. It may occur when fecal matter gets trapped in the lumen of the organ. It is often seen in people who eat high fiber diet since the fiber may get embedded in the lumen because it wasn’t digested in the stomach. The obstruction of the appendiceal lumen can be due to buildup of mucus. Because of that, the lumen swells leading to increased pressure and eventually thrombosis and stopping of blood and lymph fluid flow in the area. Progressive increment of the pressure results in local anemia (ischemia) and necrosis (localized death) of the appendix tissue. This can lead to invasion of the bacteria from the dead tissue causing further elevation of the pressure. It results in severe appendicitis pain. If appendicitis is not treated at this point, the appendix may rupture. This can spread an infection throughout the abdomen causing peritonitis, a potentially dangerous condition.
The cause of appendicitis can also be an infection in the body that spreads to the appendix resulting in appendicitis symptoms. This is commonly seen when there is an infection of the blood (sepsis). The inflammation of the appendix can result in accumulation of pus that can elevate the pressure within the organ.
Other Causes of AppendicitisIn rare cases appendicitis may be caused by other reasons. One of them is trauma to the abdomen in which the appendix can get damaged leading to increased risk of inflammation and infection. Appendicitis may be also triggered by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can cause an infection which results in swelling of the appendix wall tissue. Lymphadenitis, an inflammation of the lymphatic channels can also cause inflammation of the appendix. In some cases formation of calcified deposits, called appendicoliths, can block the appendix. Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can sometimes lead to appendicitis as well.