Ever wondered what would happen if you somehow managed to stop all your bowel movements for 13 years? Nope? We didn't either. But this man from Philadelphia decided to give chronic constipation an entirely new definition. We've heard of people not pooping for a week, or even a month in really extreme cases, but 13 years is a far stretch and is certainly not healthy for your body's colon and can require surgery to fix.
He died of severe constipation
The man eventually died of his condition at age 29. No shocker there. We simply can't believe the fact that he did manage to survive this long without going to the toilet. While the large intestine is quite resilient to microbiological assault, things can go haywire once perforations start to occur.
He suffered from Hirschsprung's disease
The poor man wasn't doing it intentionally; he suffered from Hirschsprung's disease which blocks the pathway of the intestine, preventing the smooth passage of feces. Overtime his colon ballooned to the size of 25 feet long and 8 feet in circumference.
His colon was bloated
The man's colon eventually bloated to a colossal size and at the time of his death had more than 40 pounds of poop. When it was removed from his body it looked so remarkably strange that doctors labeled it as the 'mega colon'.
The man entertained people as a living
His stomach ballooned up as a result of the giant colon. Instead of trying to get treatment, the man decided to make a living off of his medical condition. He worked in a circus where people knew him as the "Baloon Man" and "Human Windbag".
About Hirschsprung's disease
Hirschsprungs disease is a condition which blocks the passage of stool in the large intestine. This happens because certain nerve cells in the muscle are missing from the colon. The disease can be cured if doctors pay attention to certain symptoms early on in infants.
Other odd cases of constipation
In China, Doctors removed 13 kilograms of feces from the large intestine of a 22 year old man. The poor guy was constipated since birth and his condition eventually required the doctors to remove certain parts of the 30 inch bloated colon.
He looked like was nine months pregnant
Doctors reported that the young man looked like he was pregnant because of the enlargement of his stomach - a result of all that feces accumulating in his colon. They even removed 30 inches of the affected part of the colon.
The man would make use of laxatives
Laxatives might provide brief respite from constipation but they don't cure Hirschsprung's disease. It took the man a few years' worth of pain and suffering before he finally decided to do something about his condition by going to the doctors.
Doctors warn parents about the disease
Dr Yin Lu of Tenth People's Hospital in Shanghai has advised the parents to never make light of their children suffering from constipation because the problem can quickly develop into a serious life threatening disease. Fixing it may require surgery.
Essential nerves from the colon are missing
Hirschsprung's disease affects one in 5000 babies and is rarely reported by adults. Some of the nerves which control the flow of feces are missing at the end of the colon, resulting in blockage and eventual build up of poop.
Symptoms of Hirschsprung's disease
The disease can be noticed soon after a baby is born when they fail to pass dark stool within 48 hours after their birth, however it can take up to 2 years before it becomes obvious. It is also associated with certain abnormalities such as Down's syndrome and heart disease.
Treatment always requires surgery
Surgery is required to cure Hirschsprung's disease. Doctors make a small incision in the abdomen to divert the flow of the accumulated feces into a pouch. The affected parts of the colon are removed and the remaining parts of it are sutured to prevent any feces from falling out.
Here's what you should do if you have constipation
Normal cases of constipation require one to change their lifestyle such as working out at the gym, eating more fiber and drinking lots of water. Laxatives will make your life easier but they should only be used when absolutely necessary.
What happens if you delay pooping
Many people try to stifle the urge to visit the toilet, for one reason or another but delaying defecation can prove to be much more troubling than most give it credit for. Such people risk developing a dysfunction in the muscle used for pooing, according to scientists.
Here's a tip for a happy colon
If you have difficulties pooping, try using a position called 'the rocking squat', in which you crouch and gently rock your body on bent knees. Doctors say this can prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. However it might just be time to get a doctor's appointment if the problem persists.
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