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Constipated teen with toilet phobia died after 8 weeks of not pooing

CourtsBy Shuki Byrne
Inquest: Emily Titterington (16) had a rare phobia of the toilet and would routinely withhold her stool for weeks
Inquest: Emily Titterington (16) had a rare phobia of the toilet and would routinely withhold her stool for weeks

A teenager suffered cardiac arrest caused by constipation after withholding her stool for 8 weeks, an inquest has heard.

Emily Titterington (16) had a rare phobia of the toilet and would routinely withhold her stool for weeks at a time, the inquest heard. 

Toilet phobia can affect anyone at any time and ranges from a mild disruption through to a significant disruption of daily life.

iT can be caused by a variety of factors including anxiety, fear, specific experience or trauma and learnt behaviour from someone close.

The 16-year-old had not been to the toilet for almost three months when she suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Cornwall. 

Her bowel eventually grew so large it compressed her chest cavity and caused the displacement of other organs, the Telegraph said. 

The inquest heard  her condition was so bad at the time of the death that several of her body parts had become displaced, including her diaphragm. 

An inquest into her death it could have been prevented had she received appropriate medical treatment, but she refused to to be checked. 

Britain's Home Office pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery said her symptoms were in keeping with a condition known as "stool withholding", which is more frequent in children.

Dr Jeffery told the inquest: "It was like nothing I've ever seen before - it was dramatic."

A paramedic said he'd visited the girl's home twice on the night she suffered cardiac arrest but she had refused to be taken to hospital. 

They described their shock at the protrusion of her ribs and abdomen and how she began "vomiting faeces". She was rushed to hospital but died a short time later. 

The young girl refused medical treatment because she had "severe anxiety" about it, her mother Geraldine Titterington said.

The inquest was told that Emily - who had been home-educated - had a history of constipation that could be linked to her anxiety and mild autism.

In a statement read out to the court, Emily's brother-in-law, Brian Herbert, said the family had tried a number of different remedies for her bowel condition.

They included homeopathic pills, and a technique known as Body Talk, which involved so-called "distance healing".