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20 True Medical Stories Too Bizarre to Believe

20 True Medical Stories Too Bizarre to Believe

When you think about it, people are just walking sacks of meat, bone, blood, and various sticky fluids. We’re disgusting, frankly, and if you dwell on it too long you start to see everyone as a late stage Seth Brundle from “The Fly”. A collection of viscous material, dripping mucus.

Well, we get even more vomit-inducingly disgusting when it comes to our ailments. Not content to just live out our lives as healthy, productive apes, we seem intent on developing these nasty maladies that make us swell up, or hemorrhage, or – dare we say it? – ooze.

There’s nothing quite so horrific as a human being in the throws of some sickness or other, but at the same time we don’t seem to be able to tear our eyes away from the disturbing visage of a person’s deteriorating flesh – which is how David Cronenberg makes money.

We’re fascinated by other people in pain, by the weird shit that happens to them when they contract something more bizarre than a common cold. If they have a mutation, well we’re throwing money at the nearest carnival worker who can provide us with a peek.

So this is the list for those among us who delight in the medical oddities of their fellow human meatsacks, or those of us who still get a sick thrill from stealing glances at them between our fingers.

20. Calcified Bladder


There are several things in life that we take for granted. The sun shines, cats hate us all, and peeing is both a relief and pain free.

While that last can occasionally be tenuous depending on who you spent the night before with, we can usually assume that our urination will not be subject to blinding agony.

A 43 year old man from Qatar woke one morning to discover that he had blood in his urine, and over the next month as doctor’s struggled to diagnose his condition, his peeing became more and more painful. Eventually, the doctors discovered that an infection of his urinary tract had caused the entire wall of his bladder to become incased with a tough eggshell of calcium.

What causes this infection? A parasite spread by freshwater snails, which the doctors figure the man must have been harbouring for 30 years to build up that kind of calcified wall.

19. Brain Teeth


Most kids would be thrilled to discover that they had a few more teeth than their friends. That kind of advantage makes you a pint-sized god when it comes to scamming the tooth fairy – that gullible gossamer floosy.

But a child in Maryland was a bit too young to take advantage of their superpower. When the infant was taken to the doctor due to his head growing at an abnormal rate, they suspected that there may be a tumour lurking in the kid’s brain. They were right, but that wasn’t all they found.

The scan revealed that the tumour contained what appeared to be a collection of teeth more usually found in the lower jaw. The specific type of tumour the child had – a craniophanyngioma – are occasionally found to have teeth inside them, and in this case several were found fully formed.

18. Primary Sex headache


Yeah, yeah – it’s the usual excuse of not wanting to have sex because you have a mysterious “headache”. Such a cliche, and we didn’t want to sleep with you until you trimmed your giant filthy toenails anyway.

For some people, however, headaches during intercourse are a weird and severe problem. Imagine being right at the point of orgasm, when your epic high is struck down by a spontaneous headache.

Does this mean that the universe has some vendetta against you? Of course it does. It also means that, like less than 1% of the population, you suffer from Primary Sex Headaches.

As it turns out, mother nature has a select few people who she wants to exclusively screw with.

17. Hairy Eyeball


There comes that special time in everyone’s life where your body changes, your genitals start to drip fluids, and you grow hair where there was no hair before.

Like your eyeballs.

An Iranian man found to his horror that, in a change to scheduled programming, 3 of the balls in his body would be visited by the pube fairy. Since birth one of his eyes had harboured a benign tumour, which hadn’t been a massive problem, until by the time he was 19 years old the tumour had swollen and started to sprout hair.

Rather than act like any normal person, and curl these hairs into a dapper ocular mustache, he had doctors remove the tumour.

Guess he couldn’t take the manly responsibility that comes with facial hair.

16. Toothpick in the liver


This one is really a warning to those punk teenagers who grease their hair back and hassle shopkeepers: that toothpick you always chew on is a death wish.

A 45 year old woman went to the doctor after finding that she had gradually become weaker over the course of several months. She was immediately packed off to hospital when she started vomiting and her blood pressure plummeted.

While doctors initially assumed that this was the result of an infection, tests revealed that the cause of the problem was a 1-inch long, pus covered cavity lodged in her liver. Upon removal, it was found that the cavity was in fact a toothpick, which the woman had swallowed, and had somehow migrated from her digestive system to her liver.

So there. Be careful what you put in your mouth, and swallowing is not always recommended.

15. Hyper Empathy caused by Brain Surgery


Empathy can be quite a useful trait in humans. It stops us from grabbing hold of the nearest mouth-breather that bugs us and murdering them before eating their eyes like grapes.

Well, mostly.

For one woman, however, it seems that she won’t be able to do even the minor acts of cruelty we enjoy inflicting.

The lady, who suffered from extreme epilepsy had an operation to remove her amygdala, which is a pretty common procedure for people who don’t respond to medication. However, the woman found upon recovering that she felt heightened emotional states with accompanying physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, or an unpleasant reaction in her esophagus. She didn’t just respond in this way with people she knew, but with strangers and fictional characters.

Tests found that the woman’s level of empathy was far above average, and was able to accurately ascertain people’s emotional states by looking at their eyes.

The particularly odd thing about this case is the amygdala, which was removed, usually helps us respond to emotions and is believed to at least partly be responsible for empathy.

14. Lead-lined Pee


Usually when someone threatens to pump you full of lead, you don’t assume that they’re going to taint the content of your pee. Or maybe you do, and we’ve been getting those references wrong all these years – how embarrassing. That puts a whole new spin on spaghetti westerns.

An 8 year old Australian boy started complaining of a stomach ache – which most parents would take as an excuse to get out of school, or crocodile wrestling. But this child was found to have an inexplicably high content of lead in his urine. Which begs the question of how much lead is there in urine normally, because we assumed none.

The boy was taken to hospital, where scans found that his appendix was peppered with lead balls, caused by digesting meat that the family had shot with a gun that fired lead pellets.

13. Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome


Can you imagine being constantly sexually aroused? What a nightmare it would be to experience more than 100 orgasms each day? Want to know how to contract this miracle plague? Yeah, we do too.

Dale Decker slipped a disc in his back while getting out of his chair in September 2012. Ever since, he’s “suffered” from what the medical community calls Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome.

Apparently the orgasms come on unexpectedly, and often in clusters so intense that Decker often falls to his knees, quivering in pleasure which he claims disgusts him.

The syndrome, which is more common in women than men, also leaves Decker with unexpected and long lasting erections. While he hates the effect the syndrome has had on him, the rest of us are leaving objects strewn about the floor in the hopes of taking a tumble to paradise.

12. Capgras Delusion


There’s no jokes to be made about dementia. Well, none that won’t rightly get us run down by the closest passing car. It’s downright terrifying, and it comes in many forms.

One of those is Capgras Delusion. While the more popular image of dementia shows sufferers failing to recognize their family members, Capgras takes it to a far darker level. You see, Capgras sufferers believe that their loved ones have been replaced by impostors.

To better illustrate this concept, the first person diagnosed was a French lady, named Madame M. She believed that her closest relatives had all been swapped out with lookalikes, even going so far as to claim she’d had 80 husbands – because one spouse imposter would leave the room, and be replaced by a different one coming back in.

There are varying theories as to the cause of Capgras – from head trauma to repressed Oedipal urges (why is everything repressed Oedipal urges?). But one thing we can all agree on, is it’s a terrifying concept, and one that makes us peer at our family members with a little more suspicion.

11. Twin Fetus in Fetu


Those of us who grew up with siblings know that we don’t even want them being in the same bedroom as us, so the thought of them growing up physically inside of us is a nightmare of epic proportions.

People who have been born with a fetus in fetu live that horrific scenario.

It’s a rare condition, where a child is born with their twin inside them – usually lodged in the abdominal cavity, so some people don’t realize they’re smuggling their sibling for quite some time.

In 1999 a farmer from Nagpur, India was rushed to hospital with abdominal pains and trouble breathing. When doctors ripped him open, they began pulling out limbs, and bones, and hair. Apparently the twin they found inside him also had long fingernails.

More terrifying, it would seem that the farmer had grown up sharing his Legos with a sibling without realizing it.

10. Pregnancy via the gastrointestinal tract


This one will be a shock to everyone, and health ed teachers most of all. You know when – with a little chuckle – you dispel the urban myth that women can’t get pregnant simply from performing oral sex? Well, it turns out you’re wrong!

Sort of. It can happen in an incredibly specific set of circumstances.

In 1988, a woman that had no vagina, got into a knife fight with her boyfriend, who stabbed her in the stomach. After getting patched up, she had to return to hospital, complaining of additional abdominal pain. Once the doctors investigated, they found that she was in fact pregnant.

Baffled that a woman without a vagina could have gotten pregnant, the doctors concluded that the lining between the digestive system and the reproductive system was damaged during the fight. Therefore the blow job the woman gave her boyfriend immediately following the incident managed to make her pregnant.

So it can happen, but you need to have been knifed first.

9. Allergy Transplant


There are many fears associated with receiving a transplant. Will I survive the operation? Will my body reject the organ? Will my new heart be the heart of a murderer that will possess and drive me to commit a wanton homicidal rampage?

But there are just some things you don’t even consider.

In 2008, a 42 year old woman underwent an operation to replace her lung. The operation was successful and the woman went away to enjoy her new breathing implement! However, 7 months later she ate a peanut butter cookie and went into anaphylactic shock. During investigations the woman noted that when she ate other peanut related foods following the transplant, she would start wheezing.

The doctors concluded that the woman had been transferred her donor’s allergy to peanuts. That’s right, you don’t just receive a new organ, there’s actually a chance you’ll receive allergies, and in some cases even personality traits.

8. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome


Nothing about the name of this one sounds like a fun time – the last thing anyone wants post-orgasm is anything related to illnesses or syndromes.

So, just imagine what life must be like for the poor sap who are allergic to their own semen.

Following a paper in 2002, it was concluded that this was the case in a group of 45 men from the Netherlands. In the 30 minutes following ejaculation, they experienced symptoms such as a blocked nose, burning eyes, fever, and a flu-like state.

Doctors undertook tests, including pricking the men’s skin and putting the patient’s diluted semen on it. Every test suggested that the men were in fact allergic to their semen.

While this sounds like a nightmare scenario, there is hope for treatment – it appears that receiving multiple doses of their own semen seems to stop the negative reactions.

That’s right, the cure is receiving a quick sperm injection.

7. Electric shock causes a star pattern in the eye


We know what happens when you receive a significant electric shock, we’ve seen the warning signs in all the popular media – you become a super-villain with awesome powers.

Sometimes other things happen.

An electrician received a 14,000 volt electric shock to his left shoulder, and came round to find that his eyes had been subject to electrical burns. The man’s vision was limited to only being able to see hand motion, and in the long term he was subjected to various kinds of impairment. However, both of his eyes also displayed cataracts with a star shaped pattern.

However, he decided to choose improved vision over awesome-looking eye damage, and had the cataracts removed after 3 months.

6. Potato contraceptive takes root


There are various forms of contraceptive available on the market to prevent you from contracting a parasite that will devour your food, finances, and sanity for at least 18 years. Condoms, the pill, or just thinking about your massive debts are all great options.

Shoving a potato up your vag, is not.

In an incident that’s as sad as it is hilarious, a young woman in Colombia was told by her mother that inserting a potato was an effective way to prevent pregnancy. Not questioning the obvious flawed logic, she did as she was told. A couple of weeks later, she went to the doctor, complaining of stomach pains. After what must have been a quite confusing examination, the doctor found not just the potato, but evidence that it had germinated and grown tuber roots inside her vagina.

Luckily, it hadn’t gone so far that it required surgery to remove, and the only lasting damage will be her nightmares featuring Mr Potato Head as a gynecologist.

5. Woman has two sets of DNA


We all have at least a basic idea of what DNA is – it helps solve murders, it reveals that you ARE the baby daddy, and when exposed to radiation it mutates and gives us awesome superpowers, right? We also know that everyone has just one set of their unique DNA.

Except they don’t.

Human chimerism is a rare genetic condition, where one human can have 2 sets of DNA. Usually this occurs in utero, where one fetus absorbs their own twin into their body – as was the case in 2002 where Karen Keegan needed a kidney transplant, and was baffled to find that neither of her son’s was a genetic match. It turned out that she had different DNA in her blood than in the rest of her body.

Chimerism can also occur following bone marrow transplants. Because bone marrow contains stem cells that develop into red blood cells, you could find yourself with a whole other genetic code running through your veins.

Which sounds like a great way to frame someone else for a crime.

4. Green skin from Eating Snails


Escargot is a delicacy that is enjoyed by – we assume – mostly pretentious people who are attempting not to gag as they force a snail down their gullet while outwardly looking cultured.

Eating them can also turn you into the Incredible Hulk…well, almost.

He Dong, a 24 year old Chinese man, spent 2 months suffering from abdominal pain, but it was only after his skin turned green that he thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctor.

After undertaking tests, it was found that Dong was infected with Liver Flukes – a parasite that stops the flow of bile from the liver to the intestines, causing the discoloration of the skin.

River snails, which Dong revealed he had been eating a plate of every night, are filled with Liver Flukes. They’re usually killed off when the snails are cooked thoroughly, but He Dong clearly has a long way to go before he gets his Michelin stars.

3. Air duster frostbite


We get it, you’re bored one day in the office, you look around for something to amuse yourself, and the next thing you know you’re in the emergency room. It’s how we had to explain to the doctors how a stapler wound up in our colon. For a 40 year old Michigan man, it was a whole other form of stupidity.

Air dusters are fun to use, spraying out the bits of dead skin that you shed all over your computer keyboard. However, this guy walked into a grocery store and thought it might be a good way to get high. He took a can into the bathroom, and proceeded to huff the contents. He did this with 3 cans over a period of 4 hours.

He was rushed to hospital, and found to have frostbite as a result of abusing the aerosole. The cans contain difluroethane, a liquid used in refrigerators, which caused the frostbite to the man’s facial tissue.

So yes, in future stick to huffing magic markers, kids.

2. 20 feet tapeworm


This is one for those morons who consider it a measure of manliness to eat their steak as raw as the FDA will allow it. How manly would you feel with a parasite causing you to waste away to nothing but a plaid shirt and withered bearded husk?

In 2016, a Chinese man who liked to eat his beef raw was taken to hospital because he’d lost a lot of weight, was vomiting, and had stomach pain. He also brought a stool sample with him, which is both considerate and gross. The stool had a fragment of a parasite within it.

After further investigations, they found that the man had a beef tapeworm in his lower intestine – one that was 20ft in length. For a tapeworm to have grown to such a size, the doctor concluded that he must have been carrying it around for at least 2 years.

The doctor gave him an oral medication, which allowed the man to pass the tapeworm 2.5 hours later. Which we assume was a delightful experience.

1. Fish Jaw in the eye


Swimming is a hazardous business. As the documentary, “Jaws”, showed us, there’s a very high probability that you’ll get eaten by an oddly fake-looking shark.

So it’s not that surprising that a 52 year old man came away from splashing around in the place where fish pee with a medical complaint.

When he emerged from the Red Sea, the man’s left eyelid became droopy and swollen, and a visit to the doctor revealed an area of inflammation called a granuloma. A common enough issue, but when surgery was performed to remove the granuloma, two tubular objects were also found and taken out.

The doctor sent the objects to a biologist for testing, and it was confirmed that they were from the jaw of a small fish called the Halfbeak.

So you see, even the sea’s tiniest beasts want to screw up your day.


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