Doctors in Shanghai recently removed 30 inches of a man's colon, because it was filled with about 28 pounds of poop.
The man, a 22-year-old who remains anonymous, had been constipated since birth, Inverse reports, and the feces in his colon had been accumulating throughout his life.
“It looked like it could explode at any time,” Yin Lu, a doctor at Tenth People’s Hospital where the man was treated, said according to the Daily Star. The man's abdomen was so swollen, he said, that it looked as if he was more than nine months pregnant.
The man was diagnosed with Hirschsprung disease, a birth defect in which the nerve endings at the end of a person's bowel are missing, according to the National Institutes of Health. Nerve endings along the bowel help to move digested waste through a person's intestines and colon. Without some nerve endings, the bowel doesn't function properly and can create blockages.
Inverse reports that the man had frequently used laxatives throughout his life, but they did little to relief his constipation. His parents, who would likely have noticed their son's inability to go to the bathroom as well as his stretching abdomen, apparently didn't believe his condition was serious enough to warrant medical attention.
He came to the hospital that night, Inverse reports, because he was so weak he could barely talk. His pain was so great that he could "only issue a weak groan," according to the translation of a Chinese website called The Paper.
Lu told The Paper that parents who notice that their children have constipation multiple times should bring them to the doctor to rule out Hirschsprung disease.
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