Man Uses Live Eel to 'Cure Constipation,' Nearly Dies

Take this story as a lesson of what not to do, under any circumstances, ever. A man in China has been hospitalized after using a live eel, which he inserted up his anus and into his rectum, to cure his case of constipation.

According to Global Times, the unnamed man, located in the Chinese city of Xinghua, put the 20-centimeter (7.87 inch) eel in his anus, as recommended by a purported "folk remedy." The eel, however, had plans other than relieving the man's uncomfortable medical condition—upon reaching his rectum, the eel headed toward his colon and bit it, entering the abdomen, reported the Chinese news outlet.

Remarkably, this is not the first instance of eels being used in this peculiar way—suggesting the purported remedy is somewhat well-known [albeit never recommended by professionals]. In 2017, one man tried the "folk remedy" as per his friends' recommendation, said Men's Health. In that case, the 49-year-old man was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed an emergency surgery to remove the eel. When they asked him how the eel had gotten into his system, he told them it "swam up by itself" before eventually confessing he had put it there himself.

Men's Health added that "there is zero scientific evidence to back up that an eel will do anything for your digestive system except wreak total havoc."

Man Holding Eel
A man in China was recently hospitalized after inserting a 20-centimeter eel into is rectum to cure his constipation. A man holding an eel in 2010, United Kingdom. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

In 2020, Fox News reported a similar incident. In that case, the eels "[tore] through [the man's] intestines, causing a serious infection." Said deputy head of general surgery at the hospital that treated him, Dr. Sun Haijian: "We opened him up and noticed a large amount of fecal water mixed with blood."

"There was severe swelling and we found two very thick swamp eels at the bottom of his abdominal cavity," he added. As a result of the incident, the man required repairs to a 2-centimeter hole in his colon in addition to one in his intestines.

The most recent incident, in Xinghua, appears quite similar to those that came before it. The man reportedly experienced abdominal pain for about a day but was "too shy to see the doctor." Eventually, he headed to the hospital and had the slithering sea creature removed. And it was just in the nick of time: the doctor who performed the surgery "said he could have lost his life as the bacteria in the large intestine may cause hemolysis when it reaches his abdominal cavity," reported Global Times.

The eel was reportedly still alive at the time of its removal.

Constipation is a common condition, and there are several effective remedies for it that don't include the use of live animals. Some include eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking warm water, and investing in a Squatty Potty.