If you’ve never sat scrolling through your phone while taking a dump, you’re a liar. Back when technology didn’t rule our lives, people on the throne had to content themselves with less entertaining activities, like counting the tiles on the bathroom floor or reading a newspaper.
Now, you can use emptying your bowels as an excuse to chill out with technology. You can scroll through your ex’s Facebook timeline while sh*tting all over their existence (sort of) and even look at food to consume once your bowels are poop-free and ready for action again.
In fact, there’s actually a pretty high chance that you’ve already “dropped the kids off at the pool” already while reading this article.
However, using your phone on the toilet is a lot more dangerous than what most people realize.
To begin with, it’s an incredibly unsanitary thing to do. Bathrooms, especially public bathrooms, are some the dirtiest places around, and even when they’ve recently been cleaned, it’s almost impossible to stop germs quickly spreading around the room again.
Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental health, at the University of Arizona, said, “When you flush the toilet, water with feces and urine sprays about six feet in every direction.” And therefore, it could quite easily get onto your phone.
This means that your phone could be contaminated by germs including salmonella, E. coli, and other diarrheal illnesses. So even after you’ve washed your hands, you could quite easily recontaminate them by picking up your phone again.
But it’s not just germs that make using your phone on the toilet dangerous. As one man in China recently learned, when you’re not trying to birth a human, pushing and squeezing for too long can have very serious consequences.
According to Kan Kan News, a man in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, was hospitalized on February 4 after a dump led him into serious trouble. He was treated by Dr. Su Dan from the gastrointestinal surgery division of The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University.
Dr. Su revealed that he’d been diagnosed with rectal prolapse after playing with his phone for half an hour on the toilet.
Rectal prolapse is a condition where the end of a person’s intestine loses its attachment to their body and falls out of their anus.
“The patient has had rectal prolapse since he was four years old, but the bulge was able to retract in the past,” Dr. Su said.
“But he did not have the condition treated, so the situation got worse.”
To put the scale of the unnamed man’s rectal prolapse into context, a CT scan revealed that there was a ball-shaped mass outside his anus that had a diameter of 6.3 inches (16 centimeters).
Dr. Su also said that the man had bruising and spots of blood along his intestinal wall.
We can only hope that whatever castle he was building on Minecraft was worth it.
So, how exactly did this poor gamer end up with rectal prolapse and is it something that could happen to anyone?!
According to Dr. Su, the condition usually occurs in children and the elderly, and when it occurs in children, it could be linked to a larger problem. This patient had never suffered from such a severe prolapse in the past was because he had never spent this long on the toilet.
When a person with rectal prolapse empties their bowels for too long, the muscles in their pelvis can weaken.
Because of the severity of the prolapse, the man in question had to be operated on the day he was admitted to hospital and have the prolapsed part of his rectum removed. He is now recovering.
Dr. Lv, a colleague of Dr. Su, explained that either sitting or squatting while taking a dump causes a build-up of pressure in the abdomen. For those with rectal prolapse, this forces their rectum out of their anus.
As a result, Dr. Lv has advised anyone with the condition, or who suspects that they have it, to seek immediate treatment.
It is not known exactly how common rectal prolapse is because many people with the condition do not seek treatment.
So, the next time you feel that you’ve got a large load to drop off, you might want to think twice about bringing your phone into the bathroom with you. Even if you’ve not got rectal prolapse, extra time on social media isn’t worth risking an E. coli infection for.