Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

No one could deny that Oktoberfest in Munich would be a roaring good time. However, it seems that a few in attendance occasionally have *too* good of a time and might end up in the emergency room. Now usually, those who do so likely drank too much beer, or fell down and broke an arm, etc. You know, *normal* drunken injuries. However, every now and then you get someone who swallowed a beer-filled condom.

A 31-yr-old man was admitted to the emergency unit in late September with severe abdominal
pain and vomiting for the last 2 h. A physical examination revealed predominantly right-sided abdominal pain and marked tenderness in the right upper abdominal quadrant….An abdominal radiograph disclosed intestinal obstruction, and a small bowel follow-through study revealed a filling defect in the right-sided jejunum. Persistent exploration of the patient’s history disclosed a visit at the Munich Octoberfest the night before admission, during which the patient had ingested a condom filled with beer. The condom was identified by abdominal CT as a bezoar about 8 cm long and about 2 cm in diameter filled with liquid content. The condom was localized in the upper jejunum. Upper endoscopy was unsuccessful in removing the condom. Because the condom was localized close to the abdominal wall (Fig. 1, arrow), it was finally punctated with a long needle under CT control. Forty ml of a yellow clear liquid were drawn off when the condom slid forward spontaneously. On the next morning, the condom was identified in the patient’s stool, and the patient was discharged in good condition……To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on intestinal obstruction caused by ingestion of a condom filled with alcoholic beverage and its successful transcutaneous treatment.

i-016cc00190b56043c8d2699383de58e8-beer condom.bmp
The above picture is an imaged cross-section of the man’s stomach area. The arrow points to the beer-filled condom which was stuck in his small intestine.

Hat tip to A Good Poop (ironically). [By the way, purveyor of this blog should email me.]

Ott et al. 2003. Intestinal obstruction after ingestion of a beer-filled condom at the Munich Octoberfest. Am J Gastroenterol.98(2):512-3.


  1. #1 Martin R
    December 8, 2007

    Actually, almost anyone could deny that Oktoberfest in Munich wouldn’t be a roaring good time.

    Your nit-picking SciBling,


  2. #2 jvarisco
    December 9, 2007

    8cm long? Was it an Indian condom?

  3. #3 Michael
    December 9, 2007

    Ahhhh the Oktoberfest! Fifty thousand Germans and tourists, trying to see who is the last one to stand up. Fond memories.

  4. #4 Abel Pharmboy
    December 9, 2007

    Being of German ancestry and proprietor of The Friday Fermentable, I have to ask why would anyone wish to preclude intestinal absorption of a fine Oktoberfest lager by encasing it in a condom?

    Cocaine smuggling? Yes. Heroin smuggling? Yes. But Marzen-Oktoberfest are available legally outside of Germany.

  5. #5 Russ
    December 10, 2007

    I like the description of the questioning by the doctors.

    “Persistant exploration of the patient’s history…”

    I can see it now…

    “are you sure you don’t know what that is in there?”
    “I told you I have no idea.”
    “I don’t see how anything like that could get in there without you knowing about it.”
    “Look, I said I don’t know!”

    and so on.

  6. #6 Eyal Ben David
    December 11, 2007

    I smell an Ignobel for medicine!

  7. #7 Dr Aust
    December 11, 2007

    ..or indeed a Darwin award, since without the medical intervention he would have been a goner.

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