The other day Dr Oz was on Oprah and he said that appendicitis can be caused by a lack of fiber in the diet. I had never heard of any connection before between diet and appendicitis. Is there any truth to this? I never know with Dr Oz...
Occasionally, Dr Oz gets it right
There are some studies over the years that have shown a link between low fiber diets and the development of appendicitis.
Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2000 May;51(3):153-7.Fiber intake and childhood appendicitis.
In order to investigate the possible role of fiber in the etiology of acute appendicitis, 203 consecutive appendectomized children with histologically proved appendicitis and 1922 controls were studied by the diet history method. Statistics were performed by multivariate analysis of variance, discriminant analysis and chi 2. Appendectomized children had statistically significant lower mean daily intake of fiber (17.4 g versus 20.4 g, P < 0.001) including all fiber fractions: cellulose, uronic acid, pentose, exose and lignin. No statistical difference was found for energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. Discriminant analysis proved that only cellulose and exose are independently correlated to appendicitis and lower fiber intake is thought to be the cause in 70% of the cases. Recurrent abdominal pain, chronic constipation and positive family history of appendectomy were more frequent in appendectomized children (P < 0.001). This study gives evidence that low fiber intake could play an important role in the pathogenesis of appendicitis.
Hum Nutr Appl Nutr. 1984 Apr;38(2):126-31.Dietary fibre and acute appendicitis: a case-control study.
In order to investigate the hypothesis that low dietary-fibre intake is a cause of acute appendicitis the diets of 30 children who had had appendicitis were compared with those of 55 age-sex matched controls, using a 7-day weighed food record. Although there were no statistically significant differences the average daily intake of cereal fibre was lower in the cases than the controls, giving limited support to reduced cereal fibre intake acting as a determinant of appendicitis.
Low water intake may also be a causative influence. There is some evidence that infection and a familial predisposition may increase susceptibility to the disease. PMID: 6086550
Arch Surg. 1983 Jul;118(7):868-70.Acute appendicitis and dietary fiber.
The role of dietary fiber in the cause of acute appendicitis was evaluated. By means of food diaries the average daily fiber consumption was determined in 31 patients with acute appendicitis and in 30 control patients, matched for age and sex. The average daily dietary fiber intake was 17.4 g in the group with appendicitis and 21.0 g in the control group. The difference is statistically significant. Adjustment for the total energy intake in each instance did not change this conclusion. The results support the hypothesis that diet, in particular a lack of fiber, may be an important factor in the pathogenesis of acute appendicitis.
Lancet. 1972 Dec 30;2(7792):1408-12. Effect of dietary fibre on stools and the transit-times, and its role in the causation of disease.