Monday, July 18, 2011

Does Running Cause Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is WAY worse
than a case of the runs...
For countless times in my childhood, I was told that if I ran or jumped after eating, rice (or other food, but let's face it... I mostly ate rice in those days) would fall into my appendix and lead to appendicitis

The rationale is that rice or other small food particles, while passing through the large intestine (to which the appendix is connected), can get jerked into the opening of the appendix.  When the appendix cannot flush itself out, it gets infected, and hence, appendicitis.

NOTE: In biology and physiology (waaay back in high school), we learned that the appendix is a vestigal (aka, useless) organ that lost its practical use over time.  It used to create enzymes to help digest the "rough stuff" like weird plants that humans/humanoids used to eat.  Over time, as we cooked our food and narrowed our diets, the appendix was no longer needed.  Instead, it dangles on the right side of the large intestine.

As the good (yeah, right!) kid that I was, I abided.  I guess moreso out of fear.  And to this day, although I took biology, physiology, and even Googling-ology, I still have this tiny superstition that this could be true.

Having somewhat of a family history of this scares me.  One of my parents was struck by this more than 10 years ago, supposedly due to rushing to places after meals. 

Using Google has not really helped allay my suspicions.  This site claims it can't happen.  And based on the explanation I gave above, it shouldn't... right?  I mean, by the time we're talking about large intestine, "rice" is no longer rice... by then, everything is poop (how many applications could THAT phrase have?).  So if anything were to "fall" into your appendix, it wouldn't be something that could merely just happen after eating... it can really happen ANY time your digestive system is not empty (which, short of colonoscopic cleansings, is atypical).

Of course, I don't run after eating, because running or anything on a full stomach feels terrible in other ways. ;)

Has anyone else been told about the appendix "myth"?  What are your thoughts on this?


  1. I've never heard of this at all! haha Interesting, though. I don't like the feeling of working out on a full tummy.

  2. I've never heard of that! Also, I run on a full or nearly full stomach on a regular basis and have not ever suffered much from it.

  3. Oh my, that would be interesting. Imagine the emergency wards suddenly lined up with runners after big races!
    I hate google for medical information; there is too much and it all scares me!

  4. Yep, I heard the same thing growing up. Scared the bejeebers out of me, although I could never understand how food could pop out of my intenstines and get trapped in my appendix.

  5. I was told this too when I was a kid. Maybe it's an asian thing. But it might not be completely unfounded, because unlike you, I sometimes did run after eating and got stomach pains.