A WOMAN strained so hard on the toilet, she lost “ten years of memories”, reports claim.
Her son said she’d suffered the “mental blackout” after a nasty bout of constipation, unverified reports in Hong Kong claim.
For the next eight hours, the China Post claims that the woman couldn’t remember anything from the past decade of her life.
Well, Dr Sarah Jarvis told The Sun that such thing can happen.
It is possible to over-strain
“In theory, it is possible to explain someone losing their memory as a result of excessive straining at the toilet,” she said.
“If you are physically pushing very hard, you could cut off blood supply to the brain.
“You might see the same thing if you were lifting a very heavy load.
“In extremely rare cases this might even lead to a bleed inside the brain, causing a form of stroke.”
Weight-lifters are at risk of memory loss
Excessive straining can lead to something called vasovagal syncope – which leads to fainting and loss of consciousness.
Also known as “weight-lifters’ blackout”, you can lose consciousness when you pick up really heavyweights.
The Lancet published a study back in 1973 saying that bodybuilders suffered blackouts due to low cardiac output and poor brain blood flow.
When interviewed by the Hong Kong paper, neurologist Dr Peng Jiaxiong said that the woman had suffered from something called transient global amnesia.
That’s a condition which causes a sudden, temporary loss of memory with no discernible root cause.
Driving, swimming and sex can cause it too
When you have an episode, you can’t remember recent events so you have no idea where you are or how you got there.
According to Nursing Times, it’s a rare condition that’s usually caused by having sex, heavy physical exercise like swimming in icy water, migraines/fits, physical or emotional stress, or driving a car.
In this woman’s case, reports said that not enough oxygen was getting to her brain when she was trying to poo.
It’s not the first report of its kind, either.
Asia One reports that a 58-year-old man in Taiwan woke up with the same condition after experiencing a bout of constipation back in 2016.
What is transient global amnesia?
It’s a temporary, sudden case of memory loss, where you lose both new and recent memories.
It can last for several hours and tends to happen to middle-aged, healthy people.
Three people per 100,000 of the population per year are affected with TGA, according to Nursing Times, and it tends to happen more to men.
Symptoms can include:
- being acutely confused
- loss of recent memory (but knows who they are)
- asking the same questions again and again
- unable to recall the memory loss episode once they’ve recovered
There’s no treatment but the episode tends to be short-lived.
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The neurologist who treated him claimed that he had also experienced intense emotions from watching a political talk show at the time.
Who knows whether these are just internet myths that do the round from time-to-time.
But it is worth noting that such things aren’t beyond the realms of possibility.
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