Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Jhoanna Robinson
A man who lived in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province in southeast China was rushed to the hospital around midnight of Sunday, February 4 after he saw a mysterious ball-sized lump dangling from outside his anus.
The Chinese man sought medical attention after “a big lump slipped out of his anus.” After examining him, the doctors said the man’s rectum became disattached from his body, according to the Daily Mail.
The doctors were of the opinion that the man had spent too much time playing on his phone while he was on the toilet, thus succumbing to a condition called rectal prolapse, which is described as the last part of one’s intestines losing its attachment to the body and becoming visible from outside the body.
The last part of one’s large intestine essentially turns itself inside out, thus being able to slip out of the anus, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ACRS). Around two out of every 100,000 people suffer from rectal prolapse, with up to two-third of patients having chronic constipation.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, rectal prolapse most commonly afflicts women over age 50, but the condition can also occur in younger adults and children as well.
The man said he was playing mobile games while trying to move bowels for over 30 minutes. (Related: “Butt” of course: Man sticks drinking glass in anus for sexual stimulation; needed surgery after it broke.)
The head of the doctors who examined the man, Dr. Su Dan, said the patient suffered from a severe case of rectal prolapse. “The patient has had rectal prolapse since he was four years old, but the bulge was bale to retract in the past. But he did not have the condition treated, so the situation got worse.”
A computed tomography scan (CT) scan revealed a ball-shaped bulge – which had a diameter of 16 centimeters (6.3 inches) – outside the patient’s anus. There were also bruises and blood spots along the patient’s intestinal wall, Dr. Su said.
Surgeons were able to remove the lump from the man, who is now recovering fitfully. He was treated at the gastrointestinal surgery division of The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University.
The incident shows that trying to defecate for a long period of time can be dangerous as it can weaken the muscles in the pelvis and cause the disentanglement of some organs around that area. Staying for a prolonged period of time on the toilet may not be a good idea – you’d think you might be multitasking, but you may be getting yourself into trouble instead.
Most women with rectal prolapse are over the age of 60, while the few men who develop it are in their 40s or younger. In these younger patients, autism, developmental delay, and psychiatric problems that need to be addressed by multiple medications are prevalent.
While there are some factors that have been shown to influence the development of rectal prolapse, there is no clear cause to the condition. Chronic constipation is experienced by 30 percent to 67 percent of patients, while an additional 15 percent suffer from diarrhea.
Some people have wrongfully assumed that rectal prolapse is caused by having had multiple vaginal deliveries; this is negated by the fact that 35 percent of patients who have rectal prolapse never experienced giving birth.
Rectal prolapse develops gradually. At first, it comes down with bowel movement and then returns to its normal position. Patients characterize this as “something falling out.” Until the prolapsed rectum goes back inside the anus, patients describe the experience to something like “sitting on a ball”. Rectal prolapse is often confused with hemorrhoids.
Once a prolapse has manifested itself fully, fecal incontinence (inability to control gas, liquid, or solid bowel movement) presents itself in 50 percent to 75 percent of cases. When a rectum is prolapsed, it has gone past the anal sphincter (a structure that allows a person to hold on to their stool when they feel the need to move their bowel), thus allowing stool and mucus to pass in an uncontrolled fashion.
Pelvic nerve damage is also a result of prolapse. The anal sphincter is also constantly stretched by the prolapse, adding an additional factor for incontinence.
For more stories that tackle the bizarre and strange side of science, visit WeirdScienceNews.com.