Imagine the feeling of always thinking that you needed to go to the toilet. Then imagine that going on and on over a twenty year period. It would surely be enough to drive a person insane. That was the exact dilemma facing a sixty-two year old American man until recently when it was discovered exactly what had been causing the trouble all of this time.
The man underwent a CAT scan which happened to reveal a large object which was described as a “boiled egg” resting against his bladder which applied the pressure to create such urges. The object weighed 220 grams, or almost eight ounces, and was described as “free-floating, smooth, firm and rubbery”. For a reference, this would be slightly heavier than an average-sized orange. One can only imagine how uncomfortable that would have been to carry around whilst sitting against the bladder.
The man’s problem was described in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine as a “peritoneal loose body”. The peritoneum in a human being is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Upon the man being presented for evaluation, the report in the Journal of Medicine stated that “The physical examination and laboratory findings were unremarkable”. And so the CAT scan was ordered. Through this method they discovered the mass resting against the man’s bladder which was described as “predominantly acellular, laminated, fibrous tissue”.
“The findings were consistent with a peritoneal loose body, a formation that is thought to result from torsed, infarcted, and detached epiploic appendages that transform into fibrotic masses,” the doctors reported.
“Such masses are often asymptomatic when they are small, but they can be large enough to cause extrinsic compression that is associated with bowel obstruction, urinary retention, or (as in this patient) urinary frequency”.
"The mass was likely made of a small piece of fat that fell away from its attachments when the patient was very young. Over time the fat calcified and continued to grow," urologist Dr. Rachael Sussman wrote, according to the Huffington Post. "Like a pearl inside an oyster”.
Although this sort of thing is not an isolated case, one of the doctors involved did say that the peritoneal loose body removed from the sixty-two year old man is the largest they could find evidence of throughout all medical literature.
According to the Journal of Medical Case Reports, the peritoneal loose bodies (sometimes referred to as peritoneal mice) are fairly common however, “Giant loose bodies, measuring more than 5 cm, are rare and only a few cases are reported in the literature,” it reads.