Medical conditions are an interesting phenomenon. Some are so bad, that they make everything else that seems terrible like a walk in the park. Some are so bad that you wish you’d go bald instead. Or that you’d have an excruciating tooth ache instead. Or even that your house burned down (provided you came out unharmed, of course)! Sadly, for some people, these tragedies are a blessing next to what they’re actually going through. Compared to life changing symptoms or suffering with horrific physical trauma, man boobs never seemed so merciful.
It’s one thing to look bizarre, but another to feel completely off and have no doctor on the entire planet come up with a reason as to why or be able to figure out a solution. On top of suffering from a dreaded medical condition, some people are also plagued with the mystery of not knowing what’s happening to them. It leaves one wondering what’s worse, the pain of a particular illness, or not knowing what it is and what’s causing it?
Here, we’ll take a look at some of these medical mysteries. Whether they be incurable or their origin unknown, there’s no way of preventing these abnormalities. Some are more severe than others, but all are troubling.
15. Fecal Vomiting
The title is pretty self explanatory. It’s a medical condition that causes you to barf your own crap. Sometimes it’s due to a botched surgery; like the 61-year-old woman who went to the hospital for a hysterectomy, but then something went wrong during surgery that caused her bowels to malfunction, which resulted in her inhaling fecal matter, developing pneumonia and eventually going into cardiac arrest.
As bad as this sounds, it could get worse. Sometimes, it’s completely inexplicable. More than once, people have turned up at the hospital throwing up their own feces. In rare cases, patients have drowned in their own ‘vomit’. As disgusting as this disorder is, it’s still twice as scary than it is gross. Because it can happen to anybody. And there is still no obvious cure or cause for it. Cue Forrest Gump, “shit happens”.
14. HPV Infection
The term ‘HPV’ already scares people. Even if the signs aren’t visible on your body, nobody wants it in their system. And if you tell anyone you have it , you’re suddenly treated like someone with a bomb strapped to their chest (meaning people might try to help you… but from afar).
For an unlucky bunch, HPV does affect their appearance. Some are less obvious, usually showing signs of it under their armpits or in their groin area. Where others have it growing everywhere, like unwanted weeds that you desperately want to yank out. One patient just couldn’t hide his infection. Although his is the only documented case in history so far, it could technically still happen to someone else. His body developed bark-like warts that covered his entire hands, up his arms and to most parts of his body. And because of his low white blood cell count (which is still unexplained), no surgery to remove them worked and they would always grow back. He inevitably died from a series of health issues.
13. Do I Really Need To Keep This Arm?
The thought of losing any one of your limbs may seem terrifying. How would you write without your dominant arm? How would you run without a leg? So it may astound you to know that some people crave the loss of a limb. Body Integrity Identity Disorder (but instead of that mouthful, we’ll call it BIID), is when a healthy person desires becoming disabled. It is a psychological condition that remains unknown, but some claim it may be due to the brain’s body mapping system failing.
People suffering from BIID truly believe that a part of their body, which is working perfectly fine, isn’t actually their own or doesn’t belong, hence them wanting it removed. They truly believe their life will be enhanced once their unwanted limb is removed. Even going to great lengths to get it removed. Some feel overpowering envy from merely seeing a disabled person, where most people would not. The undesired limb is different for every person with BIID. For one woman it was her eyes. For another, it was for complete paralysis of their entire body.
Do you ever have the urge to chew your hair? Maybe bite your nails? Or suck on a rusty nail that you found on the floor of your garage? Well if you do, than maybe you have this.
Pica is an unexplainable disorder that causes your appetite to crave non-nutritional things. Not to be confused with craving fast food. A person with pica would crave ice, paper, drywall, rocks, glass, baking soda or even feces, but the list doesn’t stop there. Most people who suffer from pica are pregnant women, small children or someone with developmental disabilities. You can only be diagnosed with pica if your desire for unnatural food lasts for over a month. There is no cure besides guidance or physical restraint. If you’re interested in learning more about the severity of pica, try watching the show My Strange Addictions. You won’t be disappointed.
11. No Pain, No Gain
You’d think being unable to feel pain would be a superpower, but it’s actually quite life threatening. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (also known as CIP) may be caused by a mutation or an increased amount of endorphins in the brain, but there really is no exact answer as to why it happens.
There are two types of CIP; one is when the victim cannot perceive any pain whatsoever, the other is when they do feel something but don’t know how to respond (their instincts to move away from something painful aren’t there, so they don’t flinch or react right away). Children with CIP tend to have a lot of oral problems, due to them biting at things inside their mouth without realizing repercussions (like biting their tongue). There is a treatment being studied for CIP, but for the most part, it can only be observed.
10. Do You Feel It In Your Bones?
It’s called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (or FOP for short). It’s an extremely rare disease caused by mutation. And no, it’s not a good mutation like in the X-Men universe. FOP is when your muscles, ligaments and tendons ossify, which means they turn into bone. The change can be spontaneous and randomly placed or it can be induced by damage to a certain area of the body. Imagine your entire right shoulder muscles turning into bone, you would never be able to move that arm freely again. That’s actually one of the better case scenarios. Sometimes the new bones can be surgically removed, but most times the damage is too extensive and nothing can be done. Most victims of FOP eventually become immobile. Imprisoned by their own bodies. Rarely do they make it past the age of 40. And most die from asphyxiation, infection or trauma before then.
It can start with something simple. You unwittingly start chewing at the uneven walls on the inside of your mouth. Or maybe you begin swallowing pieces of your nail or eat old scabs that were trying to heal.
Self-cannibalism can happen two ways. It can start off as pica (the desire to eat unnatural things) or it can forced. As early as the 1600s, self-cannibalism was used as a form of torture. A group of Spanish colonizers forced natives to eat their own testicles. Then later on in the 1700s, prisoners of war were ordered to eat their own flesh and ears. These days, some people practice the art of self-cannibalism, literally eating pieces of themselves for pleasure. There’s no cure for this self-mutilating disorder. We only know that it starts with something simple.
8. The Most Regretted Penis Tattoo Ever
You know it’s a bad idea when your drunk friend says they want to get a tattoo, but an even worse idea is when they say they want it on their penis. In most cases, you would stop them, but that can’t be said for all.
A twenty-year-old man went to get his penis tattooed. He asked the artist to write the letter ‘M’ for his girlfriend’s last name and the saying “good luck with your journeys” in Persian. Once the tattoo was completed, the man felt pain for eight days, then sprouted a semi-erection that never left. After three months of living with a permanent erection he finally sought medical help. Doctors tried to drain the excessive amount of blood he had in his penis, but it didn’t seem to help. The man gave up on future treatment plans and went home to live his life with an unkillable boner. Is it a blessing in disguise? Probably not.
7. How To Learn Mandarin While In A Coma
Ben McMahon was like any normal guy. Until one day he got into an awful car crash that put him in a coma. For a week he remained asleep in bed with his parents eagerly waiting by his side. Then a miracle happened, he woke up! By chance, an (assumed) Chinese nurse was close by. Without hesitation, Ben spoke to her in Mandarin with complete fluency.
Here’s the catch, Ben didn’t know any other language besides English. The only Mandarin he’d ever learned was from a few classes in high school and one trip to Shanghai. But he would not have been described as a fluent speaker. Not only that, but his English skills became incredibly poor. Doctors determined that his English circuits had been damaged during the crash and his Mandarin circuits took over. Giving him the ability to not only speak an entirely different language, but be able to read and write it too. Today, Ben has totally invested himself in his new-found language and hosts a television show (along with a few other things).
6. Sudoku Seizures
There’s a bit of a lead up to this one. A young German man was somewhat invested in sudoku, claiming that it would sharpen his memory. He went on a ski trip and was unsuspectingly swallowed by an avalanche. While trapped, he experienced hypoxia, which is when your brain is denied the right amount of oxygen it needs to function properly. After being rescued, it had been discovered that the man developed a condition which sends his legs into spasms and a twitch in his mouth whenever he spoke. He had also started getting seizures in his left arm, but got an anti-epileptic that calmed everything down and stopped the seizures from happening.
A few days later, he attempted a round of Sudoku when his arm seizures began acting up again. It’s suspected that his hypoxia had most damaged the part of his brain that thought in 3 dimensional imagination. As a result, he had to give up Sudoku to recover completely.
Simply put, a teratoma is a tumor made up of one or more different types of tissue. These tissues can support the growth of teeth, hair or bone. In extreme cases, they can have eyes, torsos, feet, hands or other limbs. However, it is not to be confused with a fetus. It was never a twin that your body absorbed while in your mother’s womb, although it would be easy to believe if your tumor had a tiny leg growing out of it.
Most people who have teratomas were born with it. Not knowing of their existence from anywhere between one day old to their last day on earth, or maybe never finding out at all. Teratomas can either be cancerous or benign, but there are multiple classifications of it. They are usually surgically removed or treated with chemotherapy. Their reason for being isn’t completely understood. It could be the result of missing chromosomes or an abnormal development during pregnancy.
4. Twisted Esophagus
There is no fear worse than something happening to your neck. Think about it. Your throat is your airway. It’s a major part of your digestive track. Your voice box. If anything happened to it, you’d probably have issues with one of those things for the rest of your life.
Your esophagus starts in your throat, its main duty is to push food that you swallow down into your stomach. It’s very rare, but sometimes a person’s esophagus can twist. Why it happens is unknown and has no fix. The twist causes anywhere from mild to extreme discomfort. It can cause uneven breath, regurgitation of food or liquids, a squeezing pain (which may be mistaken as chest pain or heart pain) or the sensation of something being lodged in your throat. Again, these symptoms have no cure to this day. So if you think getting the hiccups once in a while is awful, imagine slowly choking for the rest of your life.
3. Pathological Generosity
A 49-year-old man in Brazil started giving candy to children. What happened next didn’t involve a white van and a cabin in the middle of nowhere. He would also give strangers money, buy people food, donate random items he had on hand. Scientists have dubbed his condition pathological generosity, but it all started out with one stroke.
Strokes are known to cause all sorts of neurological changes. In most cases those changes are usually for the worse, resulting in hoarding, dementia, paranoia or sociopathy. Which is why this man’s case was so interesting, because it’s never quite happened before. It was determined that he had a brain bleed in his subcortical region (a part of the brain used for higher level thinking) and seeped into the areas around it that controlled his normal behaviours. The man was given medication for 2 years to treat some onset depression, but it didn’t stop him from being charitable. Eventually, he stopped taking the medicine and retired early.
2. Born Without A Brain
The number of people born without a cerebellum is about ten. It’s considered the ‘tiny brain’, and helps with speech, language, movement, balance and attention. It holds 50% of the entire brain’s neurons. So you can imagine how important it is to have.
A 24-year-old woman became part of a case study because she was born without a cerebellum but still functioned moderately like everyone else. Scientists think that different parts of her brain that weren’t missing had picked up the slack of the part that was. Because of this, it took the woman a lot longer to develop as a child. She wasn’t able to stand until the age of 4 and couldn’t speak until she turned 6. She also suffered from imbalance. Today, the woman is still thriving, however, there is still no explanation as to why she was born without a brain. Well, part of it.
This is probably the least life-threatening out of the list. You might have heard of it if you’re a fan of star Sia. She is known to conceal her face and body due to suffering from this disease. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin stop working or die. The reason why it happens is unknown, but it is said to be genetic or stress induced. Having vitiligo may make you more susceptible to sunlight. Without melanin, your body is unable to tan, unless you count being lobster red as one. Your skin slowly develops white blotches across your body as the melanin is drained. This can happen over the course of a few weeks to many years. For some people, it leads to an eventual full white appearance (think of Michael Jackson), but for others they remain spotty for the duration of their life. Symptoms of vitiligo are also whitening of the hair, eyelashes, beard and eyebrows. Also the depigmentation of color in their mouth and nose. In rare occurrences, it can also change the color of a person’s eye. So even if vitiligo isn’t a burden to live with medically speaking, it’s mentally taxing. With people staring and commenting all the time, it can make you really self conscious.