Despite there being various ways to treat constipation, a man in China opted for a most bizarre and hair-raising method: inserting a live eel into his rectum, which nearly ended up killing him.
According to a recent report by the Global Times, the man from the city of Xinghua decided that the best way to get his bowels moving again was to stuff a 20cm-long eel up his butt.
This is a supposedly effective folk remedy for constipation often recommended by those living in the region although no medical professional has ever certified using such a technique to relieve this or any other problem.
The unidentified man’s plan went awry after the eel – once inside him – wriggled upward, bit through his colon, and entered his abdomen.
The stoical man decided to wait a day before finally consulting a doctor, who immediately worked to remove the creature – still alive and slithering. When asked why he’d waited, the man said he was too embarrassed.
The doctor who performed the extraction told the media that the operation was done just in time to save the man’s life, and noted that bacteria in the man’s large intestine could have ended up causing haemolysis within the man’s abdominal cavity.
This was not the first time folk remedies had involved eels out of water.
In 2020, another Chinese man was reported to have tried the same method to cure his constipation. In that incident, not one but two eels ripped through the man’s intestines and ended up causing a severe infection.
“There was severe swelling and when we opened him up, we found two very thick swamp eels at the bottom of his abdominal cavity,” said a leading surgeon from the hospital where the man was operated on. “There was a lot of faecal water mixed with blood.”
In 2017, a man was rushed to emergency surgery after complaining of extreme pains in his abdomen. Upon checks, the surgeons were shocked to find a 50cm swamp eel lodged within his intestines.
Initially, the man told doctors that the eel had swum up there by itself, before finally admitting to trying out the extremely dangerous folk remedy in an effort to open his bowels, or so he claimed.
Despite what residents of Xinghua may say, there are many safe alternative methods to treat constipation, including eating more vegetables, drinking more water, taking laxatives, or even using an enema if necessary. No eels.