Unexplained Discovery: Fly Found Completely Intact in Man’s Colon Sparks Investigation

From ladybugs and thousands of grasshoppers to a World War II artillery shell, if it’s small enough it’s probably been found in someone’s butt.

It’s not always surprising how the objects got there, but occasionally, there’s a real mystery. Recently, a team conducted a colonoscopy on a 63-year-old man and found a fly lurking in his colon. The man, who had an unremarkable history of minor heart problems, asthma, and tinnitus, showed up for his colonoscopy having prepared his bowels for the procedure.

Not having a clear view for a colonoscopy is detrimental to its usefulness in diagnosis. Medical professionals have come up with a scale of cleanliness known as the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale. The right colon, transverse colon, and left colon are assessed on a scale from 0 (mucosa is not visible due to solid feces) to 3 (the entire mucosa of the colon segment can be seen well, with no residual soiling). These scores are then added up for the overall score, with the patient in question scoring 2 in all segments for a good overall score of 6.

With a clear view, as well as moderate pancolonic diverticulosis, five colon polyps, and hemorrhoids, the team found a fly hanging out in the transverse colon. The fly was not moving, even when prodded by the doctor performing the colonoscopy.

“The patient was unsure on how the fly got into his colon,” the team explained in his case report, adding that the find was very rare and a mystery. “He had strictly consumed clear liquids the day before the procedure. He reported having eaten pizza and lettuce for the evening meal 2 days before the procedure, but does not recall a fly in his food.”

And yet here the fly was, seemingly completely intact after its ordeal and subsequent death.

The study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.


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