Doctor Who Said She Needs Appendicitis Surgery Didn’t Expect to Find THIS Inside
Doctors are certainly not strangers to odd predicaments ailing the patients they treat, but one case detailed in the Journal of Medical Case Reports just might be one of the most astounding to date: the case of the condom-stuffed appendix.
A 26-year-old woman arrived at a hospital in Cameroon presenting with what seemed like typical appendicitis. She was feverish and complained of tenderness and pain on the right side of her pelvis, so debilitating that she could no longer eat. Scans showed her abdomen was full of fluids, and coupled with the other symptoms, doctors felt appendicitis was a reasonable diagnosis. The woman was whisked into emergency surgery to remove her appendix before it burst, but upon extracting the organ, the surgeons noticed it seemed a little off.
“Due to an unusual feel, we blindly dissected the resected appendix and found an incomplete piece of a rubbery material which was consistent with a condom,” reads the report.
After recovering from the surgery, the patient was able to confirm that yes, she had indeed accidentally ingested a condom— two weeks earlier. She stated it had accidentally slipped down her throat during lovemaking with her boyfriend, but she had not thought the incident was connected to her symptoms. She had also neglected to seek medical attention after discovering pieces of the condom in her stool five days later, an indicator that something was most likely amiss.
READ ALSO: 8 Ways You’d Never Expect to Use a Condom
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Doctors speculate the condom was ripped to pieces as it moved through her gastrointestinal tract, with some fragments passing uneventfully whilst others became trapped in her appendix. Located on the right side of the large intestine, the three and a half inch organ seems to serve no purpose, but its finger-like shape results in foreign bodies sometimes becoming lodged where the flexing of the digestive tract is no longer strong enough to expel the blockage back into the bowel. This in turn triggers inflammation and infection, leading to appendicitis: a dangerous condition affecting one in fifteen people in the United States which, if gone untreated, can result in the appendix bursting, flooding the body with infectious materials.
While it’s believed this is the first case of a condom becoming trapped in the appendix, it’s certainly not the first time a foreign object has caused appendicitis. With an estimated prevalence around 0.0005 percent, it’s remarkably rare for an item to wind up in the appendix, but medical literature documents such cases extensively when they occur. Indeed, the report detailed quite a list of off the wall bits and bobs found stuck in patients’ appendices: “bird shot, bullets, fishing lines, screws, coins, stones, toothbrush bristle, pins, needles, teeth, bone fragments, dog hair, fruit seeds and pits, toothpicks, drill bits, tongue studs, crown post, keys and intrauterine contraceptive devices.”
Though foreign bodies lodged in the appendix can sometimes remain for as long as years with no side effects, cases resulting in complications tend to be deadly serious. The woman was fortunate enough to be treated quickly and effectively and has since recovered fully.