A patient in Japan seems to have developed the condition due to COVID-19, according to initial findings.
Scientists in Japan have reported a case in which a patient seems to have developed “restless anal syndrome” after suffering from COVID-19, with initial findings indicating that the syndrome may be related to the coronavirus, according to a case report published last week in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal. The scientists reported that the patient, age 77, experienced insomnia and anxiety while infected with the virus and, several weeks after discharge, began to experience restless, deep anal discomfort.
The patient experienced an urge to move which worsened with rest and improved with exercise and worsened in the evening in the anal region. A colonoscopy revealed internal hemorrhoids. While it is still unclear how COVID-19 causes neurological symptoms, a number of cases of neurological issues, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, “brain fog” and tingling among other issues, have been linked to coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. Restless anal syndrome is a variant of restless leg syndrome (RLS), which has also been linked to a small number of COVID-19 cases. This is the first case report to link restless anal syndrome to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The 77-year-old patient, categorized as a mild COVID-19 case, was admitted to Tokyo Medical University Hospital with a sore throat, cough and low-grade fever and treated for mild pneumonia, insomnia and anxiety. Although his respiratory function returned to normal 21 days after he was admitted, insomnia and anxiety remained. Several weeks after discharge, he began to experience anal discomfort despite never experiencing such discomfort before he was affected by COVID-19. Exercise relieved his symptoms while resting worsened them. The scientists diagnosed the patient with restless anal syndrome after determining that his symptoms matched the criteria and failing to observe any other cause for the syndrome. No bladder or rectal disturbance or erectile dysfunction was found in the patient. Neurological tests found no abnormalities and the patient had no family history of RLS or periodic limb movements.