Talking Point

Guest Post by Guy Nash

Toilet paper is much sought after recently but unfortunately not to thrown onto a fevered football pitch but to stock pile in case of shortage. At times like this it is wise to avoid coughs, splutters and hyperbolic verbal diarrhoea so writing a piece about bottoms and their link with West Ham is my aim today.

Some people seem to “blow bubbles” from either end; indeed the rather vague term flatulence can mean emitting gas from either end of the gut. Depending upon culture and circumstance a fart can be embarrassing or amusing. Both males and females emit about a litre of gas every day largely produced by fermenting bacteria in the colon.
Bear in mind that it is the same gas that causes the colon to pop like a balloon if the bowel becomes blocked. In recent years there have been cases of explosions in theatre during anal surgery. It seems the relaxation of anal muscles in an anaesthetised patient allows the release of methane and hydrogen, which may be inadvertently ignited by a spark from the surgeon’s instruments (electrocautery or LASER); this tends to result in a lot of mess and paperwork to clear it up.

Operating around the bottom is not really everyone’s cup of tea and it still makes me laugh when patients apologise for their bottoms and show pity for me having to look up theirs. I suppose opening their bowels before showing it to us would be ideal; you don’t go to the dentist with a mouth full of toffee after all. The bottom is a fascinating place, it is an amazing achievement to make an organ which can tell between its contents (gas, liquid or solid) let alone expel the gas but not the rest. If you had an upturned bottle and took the cap off, you would not expect to be able to get the gas out without the lot coming out. The bottom is a very complex organ full of exquisitely sensitive nerves. It is the source of desire to some and a source of amusement to most.

Bottoms that misbehave make life difficult for the owner and the surgeon as there is such an assortment of anal maladies (it could be said that rectums, as life, can be like a box of chocolate). The term being ‘anal’ is apt sometimes as some regimented types, especially the military or policemen expect clockwork precise functioning; bothersome bottoms do not ‘sit’ well for the perfectionist. In fact, it can be predicted that if you operate on these bottoms it will not only be judged a failure by the high standards of the owner but all future problems below their waist are yours. For some patients you find that one way to avoid trouble is simply not to operate on them.

The vast majority of bottom problems are due to harmless conditions, but it is essential not to assume this. The classic colorectal assumption was said to have involved the West Ham footballer Bobby Moore, the only English captain to lift the World Cup. He apparently endured the pain of a pile operation but died from the real reason of his bleeding (a rectal cancer) that was subsequently found above this.

After his death I contributed to his biography “Moore than a Legend”.

He was a cockney and it was ironic that his England team mate Nobby Stiles became cockney rhyming slang for piles. Everybody should remember Bobby Moore in future (in addition to his class as a footballer and unflappable demeanour) to avoid the same pile pitfall.

This is the bottom line so please encourage others to see a doctor if you bleed from your bottom; it is better for them to put their finger in it than put their foot in it.