Constipation, listen it’s not fun. You’re bloated, you’re gassy, you feel gross. But you probably don’t view a backup as a life and death situation.
Think again. According to a case detailed in the BMJ Case Report, severe constipation almost ended a 57-year-old Australian man’s life. The unnamed individual first realised something was amiss when a backlog of poop caused paralysis in one of his legs. He’d already experienced the more common constipation symptoms — bloating, nausea — for a few days, but knew he needed to see a doctor when his right leg started to go. The report explains that by the time he made it to Footscray Hospital in Melbourne, the limb was cold and had no pulse.
After a scan of his abdomen, doctors realised the culprit was a huge faecal impaction that had distended his large intestine to the point it was pressing on his iliac artery — leading to the lack of blood flow to the leg.
Even more troubling than the threat to his limb, was the fact the compaction had also caused abdominal compartment syndrome, which is the name for too much pressure on the abdomen. If not treated, the pressure can cut off blood to organs and lead to death.
The impaction was so serious it was only able to be cleared through surgery. Doctors manually removed TWO LITRES OF POOP from his bowels. The poor dude was in hospital for 23 days and it took 13 days before he could walk again.
Dr Ho, who treated the unnamed man, explained "No explanation has been found as yet to explain his significant faecal loading and constipation."
Guys, please keep your fibre intake up.