Some rather interesting and unusual news is coming out of China. It seems as if a woman lost ’10 years of memories’ after she took an enormous poop. It was reported in the Hong Kong tabloid, Sky Post that the woman had been suffering from severe constipation and upon relieving herself in the bathroom, she suffered from acute memory problems.
For eight hours after coming out of the bathroom, she was unable to remember anything from the past 10 years. Her family said that she was then taken to the hospital and kept overnight but she had her memory back by the next day. Doctors examined her and found that she was healthy both mentally and physically. Even though she was sent home, she still can’t remember the eight hours after she went to the bathroom.
Most people realize that Chinese tabloid stories are not the most credible. In addition, peer-reviewed medical journals are not necessarily interested in discussing amnesia or fainting associated with constipation. It is difficult to confirm this story but, even though it may sound unbelievable, it’s not all that far-fetched.
One of the possible problems that could be associated with straining to relieve yourself is vasovagal syncope. That is a fancy way of saying losing consciousness. Perhaps you could think of it as being close to ‘weightlifters blackout’ in which they strain, hyperventilate and experience a spike in blood pressure and heart rate. The dramatic drop after the spike causes them to lose consciousness due to reduced blood flow to the brain.
Temporary amnesia may also be a problem after an older individual faints. It may be associated with a lack of blood flow to the part of the brain connected with memory, including the hippocampus.
Even though it is not fully clear that this case actually occurred in Hong Kong, it is an interesting one to consider.