When entering the human colon, gastroenterologists can expect to see some things. A tumor, scar, ulcer, and small pus are all common, but sometimes intestinal investigations reveal more surprising residents. A clinical team that published their findings in the journal ACG Case Reports in 2019 found can certainly prove the truth, as they hit a ladybug inside a patient’s colon. We, humans, love to eat, and while evolution has blessed us with a sophisticated system for food processing, its many complexities and complexities mean that all-pup chute can sometimes get upset.
Fortunately, modern medicine has reached a stage where we can jump in and see our internal river plumbing in a way known as a colonoscopy. Uncomfortable but sometimes life-saving investigation finds that a camera flows through the anus into the colon, weaving around the entire length of the large intestine. Here, it can find cancer, evidence of disease, and, frankly, ladybugs. Anyone who has one knows that preparing for a colonoscopy is a difficult task. To get the best picture, the bowel should be as empty as possible and, for example, the process of refraining from getting a picture-perfect colon and cleansing.
The exact cocktail that was used to clear the stage for the presence of our Ladybug guest star was polythene glycol, an osmotic laxative used in the treatment of constipation. Researchers on enlightened colonoscopy speculate that the ladybug may have survived so late in the digestive process that it looks fresh enough to travel through the intestines at a faster pace, which is facilitated by the pup-initiating goop. “The patient’s colonoscopy preparation was 1 gallon of polythene glycol the evening before the colonoscopy and the colonoscopy test was otherwise normal,” the author wrote. “Her colonoscopy preparation may help the bug escape from digestive enzymes in the stomach and upper small intestine.”
How the ladybug came in first place in this 59-year-old man, the jury is still out, but perhaps the man slipped it while asleep. In the study, the authors identified it as Harmonia axyridis, which was introduced in North America in the early 1900s as a means of pest control, and noted that its “reddish-orange to dull cream colors are particularly eye-catching.”
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