I hate to sound like Lemony Snicket, but you really might want to turn back from this entry while you still can. Anyone who clicks will learn how awful copremesis is, and the only slightly less awful thing that causes it.

Last chance.

Let’s start your unavoidable journey to being a less happy human being by talking about the word “emesis.” Emesis is a medical term for the act of vomiting. That’s not so bad. But let’s pair that with the prefix “copro,” as in “coprolite,” as in poop. Those two words should tell you what copremesis means.


It means you throw up your own feces.

What horrible, horrible thing could happen to you to make you do that? There is at least one known cause. The ascaris lumbricoides roundworm is the kind of parasite that you need chemotherapy to get rid of. That’s not a joke—people sometimes do get chemo to get rid of an infection. One roundworm can lay one and a half million eggs a week. Ideally, the offspring stay in your guts, although they have been known to migrate into the lungs, at which point a nasty parasitic infection becomes a fight for your life as the larvae destroy lung tissue.

They can also plug up every available opening in the digestive system. People pass huge clumps of them when they defecate, and the worms block the ducts to the pancreas. Eventually, when they take up enough space in the intestines, digested food will move back up into the stomach like matter from a blocked drain. Naturally this causes vomiting, and there you go. Copremesis.

I warned you.

[Source: The Hypochondriac’s Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have, by Dennis DiClaudio]