Skip to main content

Busted Myths: What Spiders, Chewing Gum And Haemorrhoids Have In Common

Busted Myths: What Spiders, Chewing Gum And Haemorrhoids Have In Common

January 4, 2016 | by Maggie Hardy and Michael Tam and Vincent Ho
photo credit: We swallow spiders in our sleep, don’t we? from
As children, we believed our friends and parents when they told us disturbing tales of watermelon seeds growing in our stomachs and changes in the wind freezing our pulled funny faces permanently. But which of these childhood tales is true and what is a myth? We asked three experts whether there’s any truth (or lesson to be learned) to the tales that kept us up at night.
Do We Really Swallow Spiders In Our Sleep?
Maggie Hardy, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Queensland
work with spiders for a living and, aside from what I’m sure would be the very rarest of occurrences, the idea that we eat them while we sleep is a myth.
Some spider species are known to “balloon” – a process where they release a thread of silk and float on the wind, ending up wherever it takes them. I suppose you could have one of these accidentally drift into your mouth while you’re asleep. But you’d have to be unlucky for that to happen.
It’s unlikely that spiders crawl into our mouth when we sleep. from
But, generally, researchers think that while it’s possible we could swallow a spider while we sleep, it’s unlikely and would be a random event.
One American spider specialist, for instance, has outlined that five circumstances must collide for this unlikely event to happen.
1) You need to be asleep with your mouth open (not everyone sleeps like that)
2) A spider must be on your bed (spiders tend to stay away from humans)
3) It has to crawl across your body
4) It has to actually want to go into your mouth, and
5) You have to actually swallow it (we don’t automatically swallow everything that goes in our mouth).
So why is this myth so popular? A group of scientists found high levels of people’s disgust of spiders together with their phobia of coming into contact with them has led to our unrealistic expectation that we eat them unconsciously.
However, entomophagy (the human practice of eating insects as food) is becoming popular. Recently, the United Nations recommended eating insects as a sustainable food source, as they contain up to 65% protein with only a fraction of the calories of beef.
So I wouldn’t worry too much about eating spiders while you sleep. In the future, you may be eating insects and spiders on purpose anyway.
Does Sitting On Cold Concrete Give You Piles?
Michael Tam, General Practitioner and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at UNSW Australia
Bright red blood on toilet paper, anal pain and itching: these are symptoms of piles, or haemorrhoids, that commonly occur in adults. The lifetime likelihood of having a haemorrhoid at some point may be as high as 50%, though many people may not have any significant symptoms.
Haemorrhoids are often caused by abdominal straining, not from sitting on cold concrete. Abby Juarez/FlickrCC BY
Haemorrhoids have been popularly conceptualised as “varicose veins” around the rectum and anus. This isn’t strictly true, though I have to admit I use this analogy with patients myself.
The underlying idea is that the small veins around the rectum and anus enlarge and balloon out. This happens from pressure in these vessels when the blood flow back to the heart is impaired.
The modern understanding of the pathological process is somewhat more complex. Regardless, haemorrhoids are often caused or triggered by abdominal straining.
Mostly commonly, this can happen when constipated or straining to pass hard motions at the toilet. Other causes include pregnancy, heavy manual labour, along with some hereditary or genetic factors.
So where does the myth that they can be caused by sitting on cold concrete come from?
Historically, there was some popularity to this belief. In a book published in 1865, a medical author claims that “sitting on cold and wet stones” is a cause of “anal neuralgia”, and describes the case history of one of his patients “who was said to have piles”.
It is possible these ideas arose and flourished from “sympathetic magic” conceptualisations of cause and effect. That is, “like causes like” after physical contact. Sitting on a cold stone surface is uncomfortable for your posterior – ergo, it can cause a condition that is experienced as an uncomfortable posterior.
Warts being caused by touching toads is another classic example. Neither, of course, is true.
Does Gum Sit In Your Stomach Years After You Swallow It?
Vincent Ho, Lecturer and Clinical Academic Gastroenterologist at Western Sydney University
The answer to this urban myth is a resounding no. But, as with all good myths, there is an element of truth behind it.
It’s not good for you to swallow chewing gum. Vlad Meytin/FlickrCC BY
Chewing gum, in all its various forms, has been around for a long time. Scientists have found lumps of birch bark tar with teeth marks dating back to the Stone Age. The Greeks chewed resin from the mastic tree and, in North America, spruce resin was chewed by Native Americans.
Modern gum products evolved from a natural gum, chicle, derived from the Sapodilla tree, which is indigenous to Central America.
Chewing gum survives the stomach’s acidic environment surprisingly intact. It is very resilient and not broken down by digestive enzymes. The normal propulsive waves of the gut, however, will eventually expel gum out of the body like other food materials.
Gum is normally surrounded by bile, pancreatic enzymes and other fluids and thus tends not to stick in the intestine.
But just because gum can pass through the digestive system doesn’t mean we should make a habit of swallowing it. Chronic massive consumption of gum can spell trouble.
One medical report described two young children who, as prolific gum chewers, swallowed a certain amount of gum. They developed chronic constipation and large rectal masses known as rectal “bezoars”, made up mainly of chewing gum.
Another report described an 18-year-old girl who was hospitalised because of persistent upper abdominal pain. She was in the habit of chewing and swallowing at least five wafers of chewing gum per day. A large gastric bezoar made up of chewing gum and food materials was pulled out of her stomach at gastroscopy.
As the saying goes, “moderation is best in all things”.
The Conversation


Popular posts from this blog

sxhkd volume andbrightness config for dwm on void

xbps-install  sxhkd ------------ mkdir .config/sxhkd cd .config/sxhkd nano/vim sxhkdrc -------------------------------- XF86AudioRaiseVolume         amixer -c 1 -- sset Master 2db+ XF86AudioLowerVolume         amixer -c 1 -- sset Master 2db- XF86AudioMute         amixer -c 1 -- sset Master toggle alt + shift + Escape         pkill -USR1 -x sxhkd XF86MonBrightnessUp          xbacklight -inc 20 XF86MonBrightnessDown          xbacklight -dec 20 ------------------------------------------------------------- amixer -c card_no -- sset Interface volume run alsamixer to find card no and interface names xbps-install -S git git clone xbps-install -S base-devel libX11-devel libXft-devel libXinerama-devel  vim # FREETYPEINC = ${X11INC}/freetype2 #comment for non-bsd make clean install   cp config.def.h config.h vim config.h xbps-install -S font-symbola #for emoji on statusbar support     void audio config xbps-i

Hidden Wiki

Welcome to The Hidden Wiki New hidden wiki url 2015 http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion Add it to bookmarks and spread it!!! Editor's picks Bored? Pick a random page from the article index and replace one of these slots with it. The Matrix - Very nice to read. How to Exit the Matrix - Learn how to Protect yourself and your rights, online and off. Verifying PGP signatures - A short and simple how-to guide. In Praise Of Hawala - Anonymous informal value transfer system. Volunteer Here are five different things that you can help us out with. Plunder other hidden service lists for links and place them here! File the SnapBBSIndex links wherever they go. Set external links to HTTPS where available, good certificate, and same content. Care to start recording onionland's history? Check out Onionland's Museum Perform Dead Services Duties. Introduction Points - Clearnet search engine for Tor Hidden Services (allows you

download office 2021 and activate

get office from here open powershell as admin (win+x and a ) type cmd  goto insall dir 1.         cd /d %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Office\Office16 2.           cd /d %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office16 try 1 or 2 depending on installation  install volume license  for /f %x in ('dir /b ..\root\Licenses16\ProPlus2021VL_KMS*.xrm-ms') do cscript ospp.vbs /inslic:"..\root\Licenses16\%x" activate using kms cscript ospp.vbs /setprt:1688 cscript ospp.vbs /unpkey:6F7TH >nul cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:FXYTK-NJJ8C-GB6DW-3DYQT-6F7TH cscript ospp.vbs / cscript ospp.vbs /act Automatic script (windefender may block it) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- @echo off title Activate Microsoft Office 2021 (ALL versions) for FREE - =====================================================================================&