How common household item landed woman in hospital

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A woman has been hospitalised due to her ongoing use of cosmetics.

The woman, 45, from China, complained of fatigue and limb pain for more than four months along with issues walking short distances and standing, according to the case in medical journal Cureus.

In those four months she lost 7kg and had issues sleeping more than two to three hours.

She also had anxiety and irritability along with headaches and nausea. These could last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes.

Neuro-axis imaging shows the brain and cervical spine of a 45-year-old woman.
Neuro-axis imaging of the woman's brain and cervical spine. Source: Cureus

A number of different therapies were tried and she went to a few hospitals only to be misdiagnosed with a "functional disorder".

She was given antidepressants and supplements. After a month, she regained 6kg.

Her urine was tested and was found to have elevated levels of mercury. Blood and hair samples were also analysed. Both were found to have heightened mercury levels beyond the standard.

Woman's seasonal mercury detection

Doctors estimated the mercury content in her hair “would be the highest from July to September 2020, and there was a trough from November to December 2020, and then it rose again”.

They asked the woman about anything she could remember throughout this period.

“After careful recollection, she recounted that she purchased a kind of cosmetic online about half a year ago (May 2020),” researchers wrote.

“Her symptoms started after using it for more than two months.”

The symptoms were far milder back then though so she ignored them.

“She began to see a doctor in September, 2020 due to severe symptoms,” researchers wrote.

“Her condition was severely affecting her daily life, so she rarely used those cosmetics from November to December of that year, then the symptoms were slightly relieved.

“However, she resumed using them again and the symptoms worsened.”

The cosmetic in question was sent to Beijing and it too was found to have elevated levels of mercury.

She was given medication and told to drink more water to evacuate the mercury from her body.

The woman visited doctors again late last month and had most of her symptoms resolved albeit with some mild insomnia and short-term memory issues.

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