Detecting a scary potential complication of COVID-19

A COVID-19 patient in Japan developed an anal-related syndrome after contracting SARS-CoV-2, the country's scientists wrote in a scientific journal.

Japanese scientists have just reported a case of "restless anal syndrome" after being infected with COVID-19, and initial examination results suggest that this syndrome in a man may be related to SARS-CoV-2.

In a scientific paper published at the end of September in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, the scientists said this 77-year-old patient suffered from insomnia and anxiety when infected with SARS-CoV-2. A few weeks after discharge, this person began to feel restlessness and discomfort deep inside the anus.

Medical staff in protective gear care for patients at the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, Israel on September 23, 2021. Photo: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90
Medical staff in protective gear care for patients at the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, Israel on September 23, 2021. Photo: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90

The patient has a feeling of 'activity' in the anal area and this sensation is worse at rest and in the evening. Endoscopy revealed that the patient had internal hemorrhoids.

Restless anal syndrome is a form of restless legs syndrome (RLS). RLS has also been linked to some cases of COVID-19. But this is the first report to show a link between anorectal syndrome and COVID-19.

A 77-year-old patient with only mild COVID-19 was admitted to Tokyo Medical University Hospital with a sore throat, cough and low-grade fever. This person was treated for mild pneumonia, insomnia, and anxiety. Although the patient's respiratory function returned to normal 21 days after admission, insomnia and anxiety persisted.

A microscope image of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Photo: U.S NIAID-RML / REUTERS
A microscope image of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Photo: U.S NIAID-RML / REUTERS

A few weeks after being discharged from the hospital, he began to experience anal discomfort, although he had never experienced such discomfort before contracting COVID-19. Exercise relieves symptoms while rest makes it more uncomfortable.

Scientists diagnosed the patient with restless legs syndrome after determining that the symptoms met the criteria and did not find any other cause for the syndrome. They found no signs of bladder or rectal problems or erectile dysfunction in the patients. Neurological tests found no abnormalities and the patient had no family history of RLS or periodic limb movement disorder.

The patient's symptoms went into remission after being treated daily with 1.5 mg of Clonazepam, a medication used to treat seizure disorders and panic disorder.

The scientists emphasize that the long-term neuropsychiatric effects of COVID-19 are still not fully understood, and it remains unclear how SARS-CoV-2 causes these effects. They call for long-term monitoring of these effects to more fully understand the mechanisms behind them. At the same time, scientists suggest that cases of RLS associated with COVID-19 may not be fully diagnosed.

Since the middle of last year, researchers have found that some patients with mild COVID-19 still have neurological complications, such as encephalitis, delirium, nerve damage and stroke.

Google Tech News - Jerusalem Post

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