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Appendicitis Causes & Risks

Causes

Appendicitis usually occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed. This can be caused by something trapped in the appendix, such as:

  • A piece of dried stool
  • A piece of food
  • Tumors
  • Scar tissue
  • Worms
  • Barium after a diagnostic exam
  • Overgrowth of the lymph tissue of the appendix

The lining of the appendix continues to produce mucus, but it has no place to go. Bacteria normally found in the intestines multiply and make toxins in the lining of the appendix. Pressure builds and causes severe pain in the abdomen. The wall of the appendix can break open. If the appendix ruptures, its contents can spill into the abdominal cavity. This causes serious inflammation in the abdominal cavity called peritonitis , which can be fatal.

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing appendicitis:

  • Sex: male
  • Age: teen years
  • Family members who have had appendicitis

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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