According to BMC Infectious Diseases, a 77-year-old man in Japan developed ‘restless anal syndrome’ after contracting COVID-19.
Recounting the unusual case in an article for the 2021 medical journal, BMC Infectious Diseases, doctors from the Tokyo Medical University Hospital explained that the 77-year-old was admitted to their care after contracting symptoms of coronavirus.
Starting with a “sore throat, cough and low-grade fever on day 1 [of being infected]”, doctors diagnosed the man with mild pneumonia along with insomnia and anxiety.
He was prescribed ciclesonide inhalation (typically used to treat asthma) and favipiravir (a Japanese medication designed to treat influenza) for fourteen days after initially being treated with dexamethasone (another asthma medication).
His anxiety and insomnia “were treated with zolpidem, brotizolam and quetiapine”.
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At first, doctors were not too concerned with the man’s condition. However, it wasn’t until “several weeks after [his] discharge” that things went bottoms up.
“[H]e gradually began to experience restless, deep anal discomfort, approximately 10 cm from the perineal region. This restless anal discomfort did not improve following defecation. Exercise such as walking or running and enthusiastically playing the television game made the symptoms relief, while taking a rest [especially in the evenings] made the symptom worsen,” the doctors wrote.
The patient used medications to sleep.
Apart from finding haemorrhoids after conducting a colonoscopy, doctors were unable to find anything out of the norm on any part of the man’s body.
“Because he suffered in the anal region; urge to move, worsening with rest, improvement with exercise, and worsening at evening without legs symptoms, we diagnosed the patient as restless anal syndrome as restless legs syndrome variant after COVID-19,” reads the article.
Luckily for the poor man, he was prescribed a daily dose of clonazepam (a medication approved by the “Japanese society of neurological therapeutics” for treating restless legs syndrome), resulting in an alleviation of symptoms.
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But rest assured, Amesh A. Adalja, MD, from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security says the man’s condition is incredibly rare.
“I’ve personally never seen anything like this,” Dr. Adalja said when speaking with health.com.
“Restless leg[s] syndrome has been reported as a rare complication of COVID-19 in some case reports, and this is an even rarer variant.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, restless legs syndrome is a condition characterised by “unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs” – often resulting in an urge to move them.