Can Stress Cause Appendicitis? All You Need to Know

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Many health complications, including hypertension, anxiety, and digestive issues, have been linked to stress, but can stress cause appendicitis? This query has perplexed numerous researchers and medical professionals over the years, but the truth is that there is no definitive answer.

Stress and anxiety cannot induce appendicitis directly. However, they may contribute to digestive issues, sometimes leading to appendicitis or other abdominal discomfort.

However, we can examine the impact of stress on the development of appendicitis through various studies.

What is The Appendix?

Medical illustration of inflammation of the appendix.

The appendix is a short tube with no end that develops from the caecum, the first part of the large intestine. The appendix is often found in the right lower abdominal region.

The appendix is usually short, measuring between 5 and 10 centimeters in length. It resembles the gut in that it contains muscular walls, and its walls also contain immunological tissue. Until recently, the appendix was thought to serve no practical use in contemporary humans. They reasoned that the appendix was all our ancestors needed to break down fibrous materials like tree bark.

Recent research suggests the appendix may serve as a storage area for helpful gut bacteria, and immunological tissues are crucial for proper infant immune system development. Despite this evidence, appendectomy appears to be risk-free.

Causes of Appendicitis


Obstruction and infection of the appendix cause appendicitis. A solid mass in the intestines (fecalith), swollen lymphatics, an appendix stone, or extreme inflammation and swelling can all obstruct the appendix.

Appendicitis is typically caused by a blockage in the appendix. Due to the blockage, mucus and bacteria can build up inside the appendix. Rapid inflammation can cause an ulcer to form, which can cause the appendix to burst.

Read More: Why Am I So Tired With Diverticulitis?

Appendicitis Symptoms

appendicitis symptoms
Signs of Appendicitis

Pain in the lower right abdominal region is a classic symptom of appendicitis. However, the following are more possibilities:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • abdominal swelling
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • malaise

Typically, symptoms appear within 24 hours.

Can Stress Cause Appendicitis?

The link between stress and appendicitis has not been shown. However, it has been hypothesized that appendicitis can occur because persistent stress disrupts normal bowel function and weakens the body’s defenses against infection (immunity).

Stress and Your Gut

Since then, no additional research has illuminated whether stress can cause appendicitis. But we have learned much about stress and general gastrointestinal (GI) health.

Validation from a 2017 study According to the source, stress is a possible cause of persistent abdominal pain. One possible explanation is the gut-brain axis, which connects the brain and the digestive system. Moreover, studies show that early life stresses like abuse, poverty, and neglect can also contribute to physiological distress.

Research Reliable Source reports that the discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is worsened by emotional stress. A study from 2020 suggests that IBS may be a precursor to appendicitis.

The Link Between Stress and Appendicitis 

Dr. Beaurepaire and his colleagues wrote an article in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research in 1992. The team looked into the link between appendicitis and mental strain.

Here are their most significant conclusions:

  • Short-term stresses, such as the abandonment of a desired outcome, have been linked to the onset of acute appendicitis.
  • Nonetheless, the connection between the two conditions was tenuous and debatable.
  • Acute stress was more strongly associated with acute appendicitis than chronic stress.
  • Non-inflammatory appendicitis-like pain (without true appendix inflammation) can be brought on by psychological stressors such as depression.

The digestive system is known to suffer when stress or other mental health issues occur.

A fascinating study found that FBD patients were twice as likely to need appendectomy treatments.

Irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gut disorders are associated with psychological stressors such as anxiety and depression.

Stress and anxiety can trigger what’s known as “functional” or “non-organic” stomach pain. Abdominal pain brought on by stress is often misdiagnosed as appendicitis.

Treatment for Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away. A ruptured appendix can cause a potentially dangerous infection if it goes untreated. Therefore, your doctor will advise you to get an appendectomy.

Open (traditional) surgical procedure:  The patient will be put to sleep. After making an incision, the surgeon looks for and removes the appendix. A shunt is inserted into the abdomen to redirect the flow of pus and other fluids if the appendix bursts. After your surgeon confirms that the infection has cleared up, the shunt will be removed.

Laparoscopic technique: Before a laparoscopic operation, anesthesia is given. Laparoscopy is a procedure in which a camera (laparoscope) is inserted into a series of tiny incisions in the patient’s belly. Several tiny incisions are made to implant the surgical instruments. To insert the laparoscope, a second incision must be created. A ruptured appendix does not prevent laparoscopy from being performed.

Prevention of Appendicitis

Unfortunately, there is no established method of Appendicitis prevention. Some food can cause appendicitis. So you should avoid this food. However, it is believed that consuming fiber-rich foods can prevent this condition. Additionally, the following foods are recommended for preventing appendicitis.

  • Whole wheat
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits
  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Vegetables
  • Oatmeal


Stress and appendicitis have not been linked in any scientifically significant way. However, stress can negatively impact digestive health, leading to issues with the appendix. You have what’s known as a “brain-gut axis” if your mental state and digestive health are linked. Several gastrointestinal disorders, including those with symptoms similar to appendicitis, can be brought on or worsened by stress.

If you’re experiencing persistent stomach discomfort, it’s best to contact a doctor, and you should get emergency help if the pain is severe. Medical professionals can make the diagnosis of appendicitis or another illness.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not comprehensive and should not be used to make health or well-being decisions. Consult a qualified healthcare professional with questions about a medical condition, treatment options, or health regimen. This website or the content should never replace professional medical advice.



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