A man in Australia has been found to have had 2 litres worth of poo in his bowels after an extended bout of constipation.
The man, who is 57, reported himself to Footscray Hospital in Melbourne after he was unable to walk, suffering from stomach pain and had not been to the toilet for three days.
He had been unable to use his right leg for more than a day and doctors could not find a pulse there. They examined the man's rectum and found impacted faeces there, a result of his long period of constipation, reports the BMJ.
Credit: BMJ Cases
Doctors also discovered problems with his kidneys and liver, particularly acidosis, which occurs when the kidneys are incapable of removing acid from the body via excreting.
The lack of feeling in the patient's leg was a result of a distended sigmoid colon, which had become overfilled with faeces and had begun to block the iliac artery, through which blood for the legs flows. The man's legs were cold to the touch when he arrived in hospital.
Surgeons were able to intervene and remove two litres of faeces from his bowel and, after four days in intensive care and thirteen days in bed, the man recovered well enough to walk again. After over three weeks in the hospital, he was able to leave.
The man was treated at the Footscray Hospital (Credit: Google Maps)
He was diagnosed with abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS), a condition caused by extensive pressure in the abdomen, which in turn can cause extreme pain, organ failure and potentially death.
"ACS is associated with significant morbidity and mortality requiring prompt treatment," said Dr Simon Ho, who diagnosed the patient.
Writing in a report on the incident, he added: "Significant faecal disimpaction was performed manually under general anaesthesia with approximately 2L of faeces removed."
Despite the successful surgery and the recovery of the patient, the cause of the problem has not yet been discovered.
It is thought that abdominal compartment syndrome can be caused by anything from stress, anxiety, depression, lack of exercise and simply ignoring the signals from the body to go to the toilet.
According to NHS Choice, symptoms can include 'swelling of the rectum, a loss of sensation in and around your anus, bowel incontinence, bleeding from your anus and rectal prolapse - where part of your lower intestine falls out of place and protrudes from your anus (this can also occur as a result of repeated straining in people with chronic constipation).
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