The term "appendicitis" was coined in 1886 by a Harvard anatomy professor named Reginald Heber Fitz. Most people assume that the disease has always afflicted humanity. But actually, it’s only been around for about 150 years – and only in the western world .
Why did it suddenly appear? And why only in the West? And what causes appendicitis? Ask any gastroenterologist these questions and you’ll get the same answer: "Nobody knows."
A number of other colon and pelvic diseases also got their start toward the end of the nineteenth century – including diverticulosis, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and prostate and uterine disorders.
The medical profession responded by devising ever more sophisticated surgical techniques to remove the diseased organs. Once again, having no inkling of the cause, they ruled out any means of prevention.
In the 1970s, a British surgeon named Denis Burkitt, who had practiced medicine in Uganda for twenty years, reported a remarkable absence of these ailments among the people of Africa. The same diseases that afflict African-Americans in large numbers were curiously absent in the land of their ancestors.
Further research by epidemiologists showed a similar immunity in Asian countries, especially the rural areas. And once again, on moving to the West, these ethnic groups quickly became just as prone to western diseases as the rest of the population.
Dr. Burkitt believed that two aspects of the Africans’ lifestyle protected them from colon ailments. First, their diet contained higher levels of fiber. And second, they used the natural squatting posture for bowel movements.
Western researchers immediately latched onto the first factor, preferring to ignore the second one. Diet could easily be discussed and amended if necessary, but toilet habits were cast in porcelain and certainly not to be tinkered with (or even mentioned in polite company.)
So, the new, popular theory to explain these diseases was a "deficiency of dietary fiber." Even prostate cancer, which is also restricted to the developed world, was thought to be somehow caused by our over-refined western diet.
Researchers embarked on a series of studies to test the promising new theory. Here are two news reports that indicate how disappointing the results have been:
LONDON (AP) - October 13, 2000 - Evidence is mounting that fiber might not prevent colon cancer after all, with a new study suggesting that one type of supplement might even be bad for the colon.
The theory that a high-fiber diet wards off the second-leading cancer killer has been around since the 1970s, but the evidence was never strong. The concept began to crumble last year when the first of three major U.S. studies found it had no effect.
In the latest study, published this week in The Lancet medical journal, European researchers found that precancerous growths, or polyps, were slightly more likely to recur in those taking a certain fiber supplement.
(Journal of Clinical Oncology - August 30, 2002) – A low-fat, high-fiber diet heavy in fruits and vegetables has no impact on PSA levels in men over a four-year period, and does not affect the incidence of prostate cancer, according to a study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and seven other centers.
Amidst all the disappointment, researchers apparently forgot about the late Dr. Burkitt’s other factor: the use of squat toilets. They would have discovered persuasive historical and anatomical evidence showing that the true culprit may actually be the modern commode. Diet may have little or nothing to do with these diseases.
Historically, human beings have always squatted for bodily functions. Every infant instinctively uses this method until he is forced to sit on a potty. Most of the adults in the world continue to use squat toilets all their lives. It was only about 150 years ago that the "porcelain throne" came into widespread use.
It was basically a fad that started in England and quickly spread throughout the western world. No country wanted to appear backward and uncivilized, and no one at the time realized what the medical consequences might be. Even if they happened to be aware of the drawbacks of this new, contrived method of evacuation, they were unwilling or unable to break the Victorian taboo surrounding the subject.
As the fad continued to spread, doctors noticed a mysterious upsurge in colon, bladder, and reproductive diseases. The medical profession was caught in a conflict of interest. Since treatment was becoming so lucrative, they had little motivation to explore the cause or to find means of prevention.
How does the modern commode contribute to these diseases? There are two basic kinds of damage. The first comes from pressure on the pelvic floor from chronic straining in the sitting position. Over time, the pelvic floor "descends," stretching and injuring the nerves that supply the bladder, the prostate and the uterus. The result is that these organs become dysfunctional and prone to disease.
The second type of damage is caused by fecal stagnation, from incomplete evacuation. A polluted colon is prone to cancer, diverticulosis, appendicitis, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The following explanation of appendicitis answers the questions with which this article began:
The appendix is attached to the cecum, at the beginning of the colon. When fecal matter gets lodged in the appendix, it hardens, causing the appendix to suffocate and die. This only happens to users of the modern commode, for two reasons:
The cecum cannot be fully evacuated in the sitting position. It needs to be squeezed empty by the right thigh while squatting.
Pushing down with the diaphragm in the sitting position can force waste matter into the appendix. On a squat toilet, you don’t hold your breath or push downwards. The posture itself effortlessly generates the required pressure for expulsion.
The appendix was not "poorly designed" – contrary to what is taught in medical schools. Like the rest of the colon, it was designed with squatting in mind.
Click here for a more detailed explanation of how the modern commode contributes to appendicitis and the other diseases mentioned above.