General practitioners and internal medicine specialists across the country say they’re seeing a sharp rise in men shittin’ bricks and they’re at a loss to explain why.
According to an alert released by the National Institutes of Health, the number of men shittin’ bricks has risen from less than one in every 100 office visits to almost five in every 100 visits in just the last two months, a baffling jump in a condition for which there is no effective treatment.
“Is there something in the environment that’s causing a spike in men shittin’ bricks? We just don’t know,” says Peter Nelson, director of internal medicine research at the National Institutes of Health and the lead author of an NIH alert on the alarming trend.
Nelson says it’s never been uncommon for a doctor to see one or two men a year shittin’ bricks but that changed beginning about two months ago. “Almost on a daily basis a man will come into a doctor’s office shittin’ bricks,” he says. “Unfortunately, there’s very little we can do for them. They’re kind of screwed.”
What’s more, a disproportionate number of cases involve men in positions of authority or who are prominent in their field.
David Ernst, a general practitioner in Washington, D.C., whose patient base includes members of Congress, their staff, and federal officials, says the number of men coming into his office shittin’ bricks is off the charts. “Is it something in the navy bean soup?” he says. “Is there something going around the Capitol Hill subway? I think we’ll get to the bottom of this, but the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.”
Dan Glover, an internal medicine specialist in Los Angeles, says he’s seen dozens of men who work in the entertainment business, including many prominent media personalities, who are “shittin’ bricks big time.”
Glover says, his patients are also “sweating, exhibiting signs of agitation, and drinking heavily,” which are all symptoms of acute stress.
John Richardson, one of Glover’s patients and the head of recruiting for a talent agency, says he started shittin’ bricks about two weeks ago. “I was just watching the news—you know how bad things are today—and all of a sudden I had this urge to just shit bricks,” he says. “And I did. I just started shittin’ them. It’s especially bad whenever I think about work. Like the other day. I was just putting on my pants and saw this stain and I thought, ‘Oh, shit.’ and then I just started shittin’ bricks.”
In an important development, the NIH data is also showing a marked decline in stress symptoms among women, particularly in the big metropolitan areas. “It’s always good when you see a drop in stress in a population that’s had more than its fair share of it,” says Nelson. “But whether the drop in women’s stress levels corresponds in any way to the rise in men shittin’ bricks, we just don’t know. Sure, their trend lines are overlapping. But does that mean anything? It might mean nothing. It’s certainly something we need to look into more, though.”
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