How do you get things out in the emergency room?
Let’s say I’ve something stuck up your bum. Let’s just say it’s not an officially approved anal sex toy or a prostate massager. I’ve been advised to go to the ER, but what happens when I get there? I hesitate to inquire how they get these things out.
The first thing to know about these unwanted objects in your or other people’s butts is that they’re commonly seen in the emergency room and doctors and nurses are used to them. It seems that a night without a misplaced toothbrush or potato isn’t a good night.
In his article, Dr. Richard Wigle suggests that doctors keep this possibility in mind when people present with otherwise unexplained anal pain, “Emergency Department Management from Retained Rectal Foreign Bodies,” which lays out some basic standards of practice for removing rectal foreign bodies (the medical and slightly quirky term for the situation at hand).
Knowing how common this is, patients should be encouraged to seek professional treatment and help sooner rather than later. Here are some anal ER statistics:
- An analysis of ER found that 78% of visits involving a sex toy in any part of the body involved the anorectal region.
- Sexual activity was found to be the cause in 78% of all rectal foreign body removals.
- Unexplained anal pain that turns out to involve an object lodged in the rectum or colon affects more men than women.
- Only one-third of patients give the reason for their visit to the emergency room.
- Accidents (“I fell on something”) and failed therapeutic techniques are common reasons for experiencing pain.
The longer you wait to tell the ER staff what is wrong with you, the longer it will take for the specialists to help you. The best thing you can do is tell them exactly what’s in there, how long it’s been there, and if anything else came in before or after it.
After you tell the truth (figuratively speaking), they will check to see if your situation is an emergency that requires quick help. Depending on how bad your pain is if you have a fever, and what exactly is stuck there, you may have to wait or you may be examined right away.
The first step, once you are behind the flimsy paper curtain, is to figure out where the object is in your body. If the doctor can not “see” the thing, he or she can determine it by palpation (both outside and inside your body) or an x-ray scanner.
Attempting to remove the object anally, using equipment or the physician’s fingers, is usually the first course of action. To help widen the rectum and relax the sphincter muscles, they may apply a topical anesthetic.
If this isn’t possible, surgery under general anesthesia can be required.
A blocked toothbrush case was the subject of a recent incident report. Neither the anus nor the exterior examination allowed the doctors to feel the thing and determine its exact location. They used laparoscopic help to detect the object as well as to push it down while drawing it out through the anus.
The majority of these stories have happy endings (although granted, not as well as the individual might originally have hoped for). The most important thing to look for is rectum or colon ripping. This can happen when an item is inserted or removed, and ripping is considered a surgical emergency if it occurs. It may lead to severe complications and infections.
Let me close with a passage from the gripping 2005 study “Laparoscopic-Assisted Rectal Foreign Body Removal: Report of a Case,” in which doctors Berghoff and Franklin, the first to report on the laparoscopic procedure, prove that medical journal writing does not have to be boring:
“To our knowledge, no such case has been reported and this approach should be considered the next time the frequently amusing, but often difficult, rectal foreign body presents itself.”
Berghoff, K.R. & Franklin, M.E. “Laparoscopic-Assisted Rectal Foreign Body Removal: Report of a Case” Diseases of the Colon & Rectum Vol. 48, Issue 10 (October 2005): 1975-1977.
Griffin, R. & McGwin, G. Jr. “Sexual Stimulation Device-Related Injuries” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy Vol. 35, No. 4, 253-261.
Wigle, R.L. “Emergency Department Management of Retained Rectal Foreign Bodies” American Journal of Emergency Medicine Vol. 6, Iss. 4 (July 1988): 385-389.