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Elderly men dropping like flies in the loo

22 Comments

Let's consider a serious subject with a slightly off-color Japanese joke that goes: "A man entered the toilet, and after he finished and stepped out, he died. What was his occupation?"

The correct answer, of course, is lawyer. That's because lawyer in Japanese, bengoshi, can be written 便後死 -- also pronounced "bengoshi," but written with characters meaning to "die after elimination."

But Shukan Post (June 3) isn't laughing. It seems that among growing numbers of elderly males who suffer from constipation, straining while attempting a poop might be their last moment on earth.

As is in so many other cases, this phenomenon has become more pronounced since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. With more seniors remaining indoors, constipation started to become a problem.

"That wasn't such a concern among young people, but it's clear that from the start of the pandemic more older people began complaining of constipation," said Jun Nakajima, a specialist in thoracic surgery and professor at Yokohama City University.

"As people age, the peristaltic activity in their large intestine slows down, and the stomach muscles needed for elimination become progressively weaker," Nakajima added. "What's more, elderly people have been spending more time indoors and not getting exercise."

A company called Unrogu that provides an app for recording bowel activity has found, through surveys, that over 50% of 3,000 survey subjects said their bowel habits have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Now normally when a younger individual defecates, a systolic blood pressure of, say, 110 millimeters of mercury (abbreviated mm Hg) seldom changes. With an older person with a slightly higher BP of 120mm Hg, during elimination this might rise to 150 or 160 mm Hg. But according to one report, severe constipation might cause their blood pressure to spike to as high as 280mm Hg.

"For a person suffering from arteriosclerosis, this considerably raises the risk of stroke, cardiac infarction or aneurysmal dissection," said Nakajima.

Statistics for 2006-2009 at one emergency patient facility in Saitama recorded 101 deaths in toilets out of a total of 907 deaths.

In June 2021 a middle-aged man collapsed in a toilet stall at Hatchobori subway station. Seven hours passed until he was discovered. He was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

Constipation can be deadly. In 2016, a researcher at Tohoku University estimated that the risk of strokes by persons who move their bowels only once in four days or even more was 1.39 times higher than those who have bowel movements one or more times per day.

The aforementioned professor Nakajima pointed out that temperatures inside toilet stalls also tend to be colder than the outside area, and making contact with a cold toilet seat also shocks the system, causing blood pressure to rise. To avoid tragedy, walking and other exercises are believed beneficial.

"Twenty grams of cabbage per day provides as much dietary fiber as 30 shiitake mushrooms or six apples," says Nakajima who advises that "Strong laxatives are best to be avoided."

The article is accompanied by an illustration of the suggested posture when seated atop a Western-style commode, to avoid setting off a medical crisis. The figure in the picture leans forward at an angle of 35 degrees with elbows on both knees, a position that makes it easier to push using the stomach muscles. And a pedestal is placed on the floor to raise the position of the feet.

So never let it be said that Shukan Post doesn't want to keep its valued readers hale and healthy. The same issue carries two more articles with advice about dietary precautions for diabetics and the importance of picking a good ophthalmologist before undergoing glaucoma surgery.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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The correct answer, of course, is lawyer. That's because lawyer in Japanese, bengoshi, can be written 便後死 -- also pronounced "bengoshi," but written with characters meaning to "die after elimination."

That is an awful pun but the translated title is equally cringe worthy.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Agree with you, dagon. The author is not really “serious” as they claim.

Looks more Sora News 24 level writing here than actual incident and real public health concern.

Puns in those media are common so, this first story must be a fabrication, exaggeration and not a real occurrence.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Talk about being crapped out!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yes, all. Too pooped out to read the rest after such a bad opening.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This actually happened to my next-door neighbor, so I guess you can say I have firsthand knowledge of a case. He was 82 and a big man. His wife wrenched her back trying to move him out of the stall.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Try something completely unexpected, that cheap bread with chocolate chips or chocolate cream filling sold at your supermarket. While you of course might severely get into those named problems when eating normal or usual packed chocolate bars, those breads seem to contain quite some hidden and unmentioned laxative. You can take a stopwatch, 30 minutes…so don’t eat it anywhere outside or while commuting, if you haven’t a toilet immediately at your availability. lol

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Our condolences if your neighbor suffered such a profound loss. Perhaps not a NCIS Rerun but me thinks an episode of CSI season 4 is quite similar. Like the unnamed author so painfully tries to assert here, too many porky pies can oft be difficult to pass.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Perhaps pulled that joke, this story and some facts ‘out of their archives’, so to speak.  We’re to believe from old stats (2006-2009) 11+% of recorded deaths in one Saitama prefecture ER in 3 years were listed as on the toilet?!

Now, go have salad for lunch and pass on so much bread once in a while.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Crapping out in the crapper.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That really is a crap way to die.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Real shame they didn’t check the facts before republishing Shukan Post’s apparent stretching of real events to push their story here and fabricate a sensationalistic headline here:

- “In June 2021 a middle-aged man collapsed in a toilet stall at Hatchobori subway station. Seven hours passed until he was discovered. He was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. -

According to both Asahi and Mainichi Shinbun: “The Metropolitan Police Department said the man died from a disease,” there were no suspicious circumstances and it was a disconnected emergency signaling alarm button that failed to alert station staff that he occupied the facility for more than 30 minutes at 4pm. It was a security guard checking after 11pm that called to the manager’s attention the door remained locked and they found the man unconscious inside.

There was nothing in the real June 2021 story stating the man died on the toilet or from overexertion while attempting to evacuate his bowels.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As you point out, there is more to the story, but we will allow Shukan Post's version to remain as is since that was how it appeared in the magazine.

Isn't this the way Elvis died?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Incidence of constipation in stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28640117/#:~:text=Constipation%20is%20common%20among%20individuals%20who%20have%20had,Medline%2C%20Embase%2C%20Cochrane%20database%2C%20and%20Web%20of%20Science.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"die after elimination."

Sounds too colloquial.

“death post excretion”

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

quercetumToday 08:10 am JST

"die after elimination."

Sounds too colloquial.

“death post excretion”

More like " death post vaccination "

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Next time, don’t strain yourselves so much. Leading into this shy tepid topic with a poorly crafted lawyer joke after kanji classes? Just hold it in and make your points.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's far more common than you might think, and it's this and strokes when standing too quickly after soaking in a hot bath that are the final moments for many.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surprised this topic is not the butt of better jokes. The opening joke is not my preferred bran of humour.

In addition, this story includes advertising.  

Thanks but most healthy people can manage our bowel movements without another useless app.

“A company called Unrogu that provides an app for recording bowel activity has found, through surveys, that over 50% of 3,000 survey subjects said their bowel habits have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Hard pass. (puns intended)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the refined white rice and white bread leads to constipation. You wouldn’t believe some of the sounds I hear daily from the stalls in my bathroom at work.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Thanks for the clarification @8:41am. Yes, best to distance yourselves from what could be misconstrued as crappy “journalism” when you can.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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