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Why does the appendix cause illnesses?
Question Date: 2014-02-09
Answer 1:

The appendix is a little pouch sticking out of the large intestine. Specifically, it sticks out of the caecum, which is fairly small in us. Guinea pigs have a big caecum, because they eat lots of raw plants and need a place in their intestines to digest this stuff that's hard to digest. Some groups of mammals, including us!, have an appendix.

Appendicitis is the most common illness in the appendix. That means the appendix is inflamed - red, swollen, and sore! When your tonsils are inflamed, that's called 'tonsilitis.' And there are lots of illnesses where some part of the body is inflamed - those illnesses usually have 'itis' at the end of the name, and the name of the body part at the beginning of the name.

Wikipedia says the most common cause of appendicitis is when some bit of fecal matter - 'poop' - gets stuck there instead of passing through the intestine. Then the appendix gets swollen and filled with mucous, and the swollen appendix squeezes off the little blood vessels and lymphatic vessels.

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