Elvis Presley reportedly considered himself to be a man's-man and didn't like to talk about the problems he had. His personal physician, Dr. George “Nick” Nichopoulos, recently announced that Elvis died from what many people suffer from -- constipation.
Now that doesn't mean that you are going to die from a little constipation. No, according to Dr. Nick, the issues facing the King were far different. The biggest difference was Elvis' colon.
Elvis' colon was 8 to 9 feet long, or double the size of a normal colon, and it was 5 to 6 inches in diameter more than double the average 2 to 3 inch diameter colon. Elvis essentially couldn't move food through his system fast enough or easily.
While Dr. Nick was treating Elvis for the constipation, he wanted to perform a colostomy which is the removal of part of one's colon. The only problem was that Elvis, being a man's-man, wouldn't agree to have the surgery.
According to Dr. Nick
, “The constipation upset him quite a bit because Elvis thought that he could handle almost anything, he thought he was really a man’s man and he wasn’t going to let something like this … he thought that this was a sign of weakness and he wasn’t going to be weak. It’s not the kind of thing you table talk. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s you didn’t’ talk about constipation much, you didn’t’ hear people complaining about it, or saying what they did or how much trouble they had with it.”
Elvis reportedly would have accidents while on stage and that embarrassed him greatly. He would have to change outfits and that was because of the way doctors were being forced to treat his constipation and not being willing to have the surgery. Dr. Nick
is confident that had Elvis had the surgery he would still be with us today, “If they had done the colostomy then, he’d probably still be here. But it wasn’t acceptable treatment at that time. Now the treatment is short.”
The doctor has also said that the King didn't put on significant weight but rather was bloated due to the severe constipation. Dr. Nick is also sure that Elvis really wouldn't want people discussing the physiological issues he had back then and would find the entire conversation embarrassing.
It also wasn't simple colon length that led to the problems, there was a paralysis of the colon as well where it just didn't move the waste through. Dr. Nick contended that it can be both passed down through generations or it could also be a viral reaction. At the time of the autopsy Dr. Nick
disclosed, “Usually you pass it all in two or three days, but at the autopsy we found stool in his colon which had been there for four or five months because of the poor motility of the bowel.”