Appendicitis is a potentially dangerous inflammation of the appendix that usually requires the surgical removal of the appendix. The symptoms of this medical condition include: intense pain (beginning at the mid-abdomen and shifting to the lower right quadrant), vomiting and fever. It is important that prompt medical treatment is sought because if is left untreated there is a high risk that the organ could rupture, which can cause shock and a potentially fatal condition called peritonitis (inflammation of the tissue that lines the abdomen and abdominal organs). This can lead to blood infection (sepsis) and eventually death. Let’s find out what causes this potentially fatal medical condition.
What causes appendicitis?
The cause of appendicitis is not completely understood, but it believed to be begin with a blockage (obstruction) if the appendix lumen (the space inside the organ). Some causes of the blockage of the appendix include: feces, parasites, certain bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease), trauma to the region, overgrown/enlarged lymph tissue and abnormal growths. This blockage leads to an accumulation of mucus and the organ begins to swell. This increases the pressure inside the appendix and restricts the lymphatic and blood flow to the organ. This restriction eventually leads to the death of the cells in the organ (necrosis). Bacteria then leak out from the dead cell walls and pus forms around and within the organ. The final result of this process is a burst appendix (appendiceal rupture), which spreads the infection throughout the abdomen.
Did you know?
Another common theory about the cause of this condition is that the blockage in the appendix may cause the bacteria that are naturally found in the appendix to multiply rapidly. This causes the organ to become infected and then it becomes inflamed (swollen).