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World
16 Jun 2017

22-year-old gets 13kg of poop surgically removed; Shit gets serious!

When shit gets serious

If you haven't been considering constipation a real health hazard, think again!

Constipated since birth, a 22-year-old Chinese man had to 'go under the knife' to ease himself.

In a very complex surgery, doctors in China removed 13 kg of fecal matter from his intestines.

He is reported to have been suffering from Hirshsprung, a rare congenital disease.

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In context

When shit gets serious
Delayed diagnosis turned things critical

Details

Delayed diagnosis turned things critical

Hirshsprung's disease rendered the 22-year-old constipated since birth.

His diagnosis was delayed until adulthood, as his parents reportedly considered constipation a 'small ailment' and neglected it.

Hirshsprung's disease, diagnosed usually in newborns, leads to difficulty in passing bowels due to missing nerve cells in the colon (also called the large intestine).

Chronic constipation piles up the waste and creates a 'megacolon'.

Surgery

Surgery was the only option left

As the man was under the severe risk of developing sepsis doctors were left only with the option of surgery.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication in which the toxins from the waste get mixed with the bloodstream.

In a three-hour-long surgery, the doctors removed a 30-inch long section his colon which was holding 13 kg of feces.

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Man looked like he was about to explode: Medical experts

Condition

Man looked like he was about to explode: Medical experts

The surgery was performed at Tenth People's Hospital in Shanghai on 8 June.

According to Dr. Yin Lu of the hospital, the 22-year-old's colon had swollen so much that it made him look as if he was over nine months pregnant.

He added that parents should not neglect if their children are suffering from constipation as it leads to deadly diseases.

Details

Poor movement in the bowels

The digestive system pushes food and waste through intestines; the involuntary process involving muscle contractions is called peristalsis.

In Hirschsprung's disease, peristalsis stops at the part of the bowel where there are no nerve cells.

As there are no nerve cells to signal muscle contractions, the fecal matter simply remains in the large intestine leading to constipation and megacolon.

Hirschsprung's disease affects one in every 5,000 newborns

Symptoms can be noticed in infants when they haven't had a bowel movement to pass meconium (dark feces) within 48 hours after birth. Symptoms also include a swollen stomach, flatulence, gassy diarrhea, and throwing up green-colored fluids.

Laxatives aren't meant to replace peristalsis

Laxatives

Laxatives aren't meant to replace peristalsis

The 22-year-old was so weak when he was admitted to hospital that he could barely talk.

According to doctors, his swollen abdomen stretched his skin until it was shiny, seriously inflaming his subcutaneous veins.

He had been taking laxatives throughout his life.

However, laxatives couldn't provide relief as they do not replace the body's natural peristaltic movement in the intestines.

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