Chinese doctors remove live eel from constipated man’s stomach after folk remedy fails him

Patient nearly dies after inserting 50cm burrowing fish in himself ‘as a folk remedy for constipation’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 April, 2017, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:23pm

Doctors in southern China have removed a half-metre live eel from the stomach of a middle-aged man who inserted the elongated fish in himself supposedly as a folk remedy for constipation, according to a local newspaper.

The patient told doctors in Guangzhou that he had heard word on the street that his condition could be effectively relieved or even cured by a living eel, the Guangzhou Daily reported on Tuesday.

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He was hospitalised last week when the live fish began to wreak havoc on his intestines after he inserted it in his anus, the report said.

Eels have pointed jaws, sharp teeth and a slender body that moves in waves, allowing them to burrow efficiently through sand, mud and pebbles. The eel used by the man was said to have a head as large as a ping-pong ball.

One doctor said that when the man arrived at the hospital, his stomach was inflated like an air balloon, causing sharp pain.

In surgery they found the animal had broken through the intestines and generated “a mess” in the man’s abdominal cavity, “almost killing him”, the doctor said.

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Eels are a common fish in southern China, available in many local markets. In 2013, another man in Guangdong province was admitted to hospital after inserting an eel into himself for sexual pleasure. Earlier this year, a woman was reportedly hospitalised for the same reason.