Appendicitis is a disease whose symptoms are vague and not well defined and could mimic other causes of abdominal pain. It is responsible for more than 30 percent of surgical emergencies in our hospitals. But what are the causes of appendicitis?
Research studies suggest that appendicitis is the first serious disease to emerge with dietary sophistication and eating of fibre depleted diet or low fibre diet. Its incidence rose when unrefined home-ground cereals and cellulose-rich diet was replaced by refined white flour and sugar.
Low fibre diet reduces stool bulk, forms strong and hard stool and delay in emptying our bowels. The slow moving hard and tenacious stool now accumulates in the lumen of the appendix and form what we call fecoliths. The fecoliths blocks the lumen, increase the pressure within the appendix and distorts its blood supply hence predisposing the appendix to bacterial infection. This evidence, though, has been circumstantial as it varies from person to person but it is the causes of appendicitis.
Apart from obstruction by hard stools which accounts for 70 percent of appendicitis, other sources and causes of obstruction are microorganisms and worms like schisostoma and oxyuria. Enlarged lymphoid tissues, tumors(cancers) and foreign body have also been implicated in appendicitis.
The causes of appendicitis has also been shown to follow upper respiratory tract infection like sore throat and tonsillitis as blockage may also occur from infection, since the appendix can swell in response to any infection in the body.
Summarily, the causes of appendicitis are still largely unknown but studies have shown that people on low fibre diet, high social class, and individuals living in urban cities are more predisposed to coming down with the disease.
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