fecal vomiting. yes, fecal vomiting.
In a recent answer to a reader's question about the ramifications of going "weeks without pooping," I mentioned the possibility that fecal vomiting might eventually occur. PoopReport's own editor Dave has asked me to elaborate on this -- because he, along with most people, had always thought that fecal vomiting was just a myth.
It doesn't seem possible that poop could make its way back up through all of the twists and turns and supposedly one-way doors of the intestinal tract and then make a grand exit through one's mouth. But it is possible indeed.
For this to occur, there has to be something VERY WRONG with you. Fecal vomiting is most definitely a MEDICAL EMERGENCY that requires IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!
The human body has natural survival reflexes that cause it to expel harmful poisons from within. This explains why vomiting and diarrhea are associated with food poisoning, bacterial or viral infections, and so on -- your body is trying to get rid of bad things. Even without having poop in it, vomit is not pleasant by any means. Vomiting (technically called "emesis") is when the contents of your stomach are forcefully ejected through the mouth. So how would poop get back into your stomach?
It is in the intestines when food takes on the characteristics of poop -- not in the stomach. In normal digestion, once food has left the stomach and descended into the small intestine as a liquidy substance called "chyme," it is usually well on its way to the large intestine and then out of the body through the rectum. The valves that pass the chyme from each section of the bowels are pretty much one-way access.
But as we all know, sometimes things are not always as they should be.
Pretty much the only thing that can cause things to go in reverse here is an obstruction in the bowel. An obstruction can either cause things to slowly pile up -- leaving a foot in the door, so to speak -- or can trigger a spasm in the muscles of the intestinal walls that forces the contents of the bowels back into the stomach.
Where things really start to get tricky is the underlying cause of the obstruction to begin with. It could be caused by a tumor, a twist or crimp in a section of the intestine, or compacted fecal matter from prolonged constipation that has caused a backup all the way to the opening of the stomach.
Fecal matter is a waste product filled with toxic stuff waiting to exit. It has no business being in the stomach, and the stomach knows it. The victim usually experiences significant abdominal pain and bloating from the obstruction before eventually vomiting.
Again, the most important fact here is that vomiting feces is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. If you see and smell shit coming out of your mouth, that is your body's way of telling you to get your ass to a hospital NOW. Vomiting the feces out is only buying you a little bit of time. If the obstruction that caused the shit to back up in the first place is not located, cleared, and repaired, really bad things can happen -- things that, if not treated, will most likely result in your death. Sorry, Dave -- fecal vomiting is not a myth.
Motherload is Certified Nurse Assistant as well as an IBS sufferer, which means she knows a lot about poop. Got a question for her? Ask it here.