Popcorn & Appendicitis

Appendicitis occurs when your appendix becomes inflamed and fills with pus 1. The cause of appendicitis is not always known, but a food blockage can lead to the development of the condition 1. While popcorn is not considered a common cause of appendicitis, a popcorn kernel might cause a blockage that contributes to the condition 1.


Your appendix is a small pouch that sits near your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes swollen and fills with pus 1. Appendicitis causes pain around your naval when it first develops, but then shifts to the right side of your abdomen and becomes more intense as the condition progresses 1. Other symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • swelling of the abdomen

Though the cause of appendicitis is not always known, an infection or stool blockage are two reasons it might develop 1.

Food Blockages

A food blockage is another reason why appendicitis might develop 1. A small piece of food can block the opening of the cavity that runs along your appendix, which can lead to swelling and the formation of pus. When a small piece of food does block the opening, it allows bacteria to form inside the appendix. This bacteria multiplies very quickly and leads to appendicitis 1. If left untreated, appendicitis can cause your appendix to rupture, which can spread the bacteria throughout your body 1.


Because you do not eat popcorn kernels, it is not likely that popcorn will cause appendicitis 1. If you do accidentally swallow a popcorn kernel and it reaches the opening of the cavity that runs along your appendix, it might lead to appendicitis, though this is not common 1. A piece of popcorn that has not been chewed thoroughly might also cause a blockage that leads to appendicitis 1.


The most common treatment for appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix 1. An appendectomy is the surgery that removes your inflamed appendix before it ruptures and spreads bacteria to other parts of your body. It will also remove the blockage. If your appendix has burst, your doctor might drain the abscess that can form in the area before doing an appendectomy. An appendectomy can be done with an incision or laproscopically. A laparoscopic appendectomy is less invasive and uses smaller incisions and special tools to remove the appendix, though this is only an approved treatment if your appendix has not burst.