Rare medical conditions are more common than you might think. New conditions are being discovered every day through both clinical and scientific research. Despite all this, there still remain a number of different conditions and symptoms that are considered medical mysteries. In this article, we shall take a look at some of them in a bit more detail.
1. Werewolf Syndrome
“Werewolf Syndrome” is a clinical condition where the affected individual’s entire face is covered with hair. It is in fact a condition called hypertrichosis which is a rather rare condition. Only a small proportion of people are affected across the globe. Unfortunately, the people who suffer from this condition are often ridiculed by people who are uneducated and unaware of the condition. The condition does not have a cure, though procedures such as hair removal can help get rid of the hair on the face temporarily.
2. Constant Hiccups
Hiccups indicate irritation of the diaphragm and can be rather distressing. In most cases, there is a trigger for hiccups such as eating spicy foods or damage to the brain from trauma. However, there are a handful of reports that have discussed people who have long standing hiccups that do not seem to want to subside. The New York Times reported a case where a patient who was normally quite well started to hiccup and just could not stop. In fact, the longest reported case of hiccups was 68 years! There are very few treatments available, and their success varies from person to person.
3. Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder
A recent report in a UK newspaper was about a lady who had a sexual orgasm that lasted over 3 hours. While this may sound quite exciting to many, it was as a matter of fact a rather uncomfortable experience. There exists a condition called Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) where a person lives with the reality of experiencing an orgasm without participating in any sexual activity or sexual thoughts. The actual cause for this is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by certain medication or nerve problems.
4. Tree Man Syndrome
A case reported in Indonesia talked about an individual whose body was covered entirely in large warts. The appearance was compared to that of the bark of a tree. The condition is called epidermodysplasia verruciformis, which are warts caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for the generation of warts on genitals and elsewhere. Unfortunately, there was no cure for this condition, so the patient would require constant treatment to help remove them. There is a vaccine that prevents the strains which causes the warts.
5. Chronic Insomnia
We all need sleep, and a few hours of it every day to function normally. It provides our mind and body with the rest that it needs to start another day in our lives. A report in ABC news about a woman revealed a shocking discovery that she could not sleep whatever she did. Interestingly, and to her dismay, a CT scan showed that there was a tumor on her adrenal gland, called adrenal cortical cancer. Of course, this is just one case and the inability to fall asleep can be due to a number of causes that must be investigated if it is impacting a person’s daily life.
6. Excessive Sweating
The Washington post recently reported a case of a woman who would not stop sweating. Not to mention the embarrassment that she faced, there was great difficulty in finding a treatment to help her stop sweating. The cause for this is a clinical condition called hyperhydrosis. Hyperhydrosis is a clinical condition characterized by overactive sweat glands that result in excessive sweating, sweaty palms and armpits all the time. Treatment of this condition is difficult, and in some cases drugs such as anticholinergic medication can help dry up secretions, though this is not an approved indication for this condition.
7. Crying Blood
A rare but extremely interesting case emerged in the news not so long ago about a man who started to shed tears of blood. This is an extremely rare condition called haemolacria – the secretion of blood through the tear glands. It is often caused due to head injury, though in some occasions investigations may be completely normal. It can remain a mystery, with no real cure.
8. Stone Man Syndrome
This is a rare condition where the tissues in the body become extremely calcified, making them appear like bone. The condition is called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a very rare genetic condition. Unfortunately, the disease has no cure and is managed conservatively though painkillers.
9. Fainting Spells
You may remember a few years ago that YouTube had a video on fainting goats. The same condition can occur in humans as well. This extreme condition is called myotonia congenita. Patients can experience sudden muscle contractions due to alteration in the flow of certain electrolytes within the muscles, causing them to become stiff and possibly collapse. Unfortunately, the cannot be cured, but can be managed to an extent with physical therapy.
10. Corkscrew Food Pipe
There are a handful of reported cases across the globe where investigations into a patient with swallowing problems or stomach problems has revealed the presence of a food pipe that is shaped like a corkscrew. This is called esophageal spasm. This is caused due to severe muscle spasms in the lining of the food pipe. It appears twisted on testing, and a specialized test called a barium swallow appears like a corkscrew. Unfortunately there is no cure for this condition.