You Are Mostly Made of Bacteria and There's a 'World War' in Your Colon

Today in butt news: Author Mary Roach (of Bonk and Stiff and Spook fame) has a new(ish) book out called Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. In it, she explores some of the more fantastic and obscure truths about the human digestive system.


Mother Jones compiled some of highlights, and they're fascinating—even to a butt news officionado such as myself. Here are my favorite highlights of the highlights:

[W]hy suicide bombers don't carry bombs in their rectums: Their bodies would absorb much of the explosion and prevent any chance of achieving their deadly objective. It's one of the "reasons to be thankful for your anus," observes Roach.

"For every one cell of you, there are nine [bacteria in your body]," says Roach. "So as one of the gastroenterologists said to me, it's kind of a philosophical question of who owns who."

She also addresses fecal transplants, a.k.a. my FAVORITE SUBJECT ON EARTH EXCEPT FOR CATS.

"The ultimate probiotic," says Roach, "is a fecal transplant" (supervised by an experienced and qualified doctor, of course). Yep, that's right: Taking a healthy person's waste and injecting it into your gut. But it's not like you can use just anyone's donation—successful transplants only come from well-tested and vetted donors. And it's not just a little bit of waste that is used. It's enough to require a full-size blender (and to change, forever, the connotation of a "smoothie").

Why so much? "You're creating, like, world war in the colon," explains Roach.

And then—what do you know—Roach GOES AND BRINGS CATS INTO IT TOO.

English physician Thomas Sydenham, an "uncommonly gentle practitioner" from the 1600s, had other tips to manually disimpact a painful obstruction. One idea was to ride a horse. Another treatment "featured mint water and lemon juice, as if all that were needed to make a man right was a refreshing summertime beverage," writes Roach. But the gentlest remedy of all of Sydenham's suggestions? "I order too," he continued, "that meanwhile a live kitten be kept continually lying on the naked belly." It's a serious long shot, but perhaps he hoped the instinctual kneading behavior of a kitten looking to nurse might jumpstart intestinal motility. As Roach notes, at least it might relax you.

Best book [that I haven't read yet] ever.



I want a live kitten to be kept continually lying on my naked belly. Not even for the shits - just for the giggles!