CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
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The cause of appendicitis isn't always clear. Sometimes appendicitis can occur as a result of:
- An obstruction. Food waste or a hard piece of stool (fecal stone) can block the opening of the cavity that runs the length of your appendix.
- An infection. Appendicitis may also follow an infection, such as a gastrointestinal viral infection, or it may result from other types of inflammation.
In both cases, bacteria inside the appendix multiply rapidly, causing the appendix to become inflamed, swollen and filled with pus. If not treated promptly, the appendix can rupture.
- Ben-David K, et al. Appendicitis. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendicitis, acute. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendicitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/appendicitis/. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Appendectomy. American College of Surgeons. http://www.facs.org/public_info/operation/brochures/app.pdf. Accessed June 23, 2011.