The latest COVID-19 symptom is about butts — but it’s no joke.
A newly published medical report by doctors in Japan has revealed a mysterious condition associated with the disease called “restless anal syndrome.” Its name is likened to the more commonly discussed restless legs syndrome (RLS) and describes exactly one 77-year-old patient’s afflictions.
The man had only recently checked out of the Tokyo Medical University Hospital following a 21-day stay while ill with COVID-19. But despite having fully recovered from the virus, he returned to report uncomfortable new symptoms.
He told physicians that he began suffering “deep anal discomfort” in the area between his anus and genitals, prompting him with the “essential urge to move” his bowels — which gave him no relief, according to their paper, available to read via “BMC Infectious Diseases.”
As days passed, the patient observed that physical activity seemed to relieve his stressed anus, while lying low only increased his discomfort, which also spiked during the evening hours.
A colonoscopy showed the man had internal hemorrhoids, but that didn’t explain his spasms. His nervous system also appeared to be in working order.
That’s when doctors reckoned his awkward condition must be neurological, noting that his symptoms had manifested similar to RLS, which has been detected in at least two other recovered COVID-19 patients.
The connection between the disease and RLS is not yet understood, said report author Dr. Itaru Nakamura. Nakamura’s patient, however, may be the first documented case of restless anal syndrome associated with COVID-19, he wrote.
Restless legs syndrome is said to occur in at least 3 million Americans, and its symptoms may occur elsewhere on the body, such as the arms or even the face. Some experts believe the condition is vastly underreported, as the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation estimates that 7% to 8% in the US are living with some form of RLS.
Nakamura prescribed the man a daily regimen of the sedative clonazepam (Klonopin) to help relax his anal muscles, and he has continued to improve after 10 months of treatment, according to the report.
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