The 10 Grossest Body Growths (Warning: Graphic Images)

Warning: the following are shocking, graphic images. These gruesome and gory conditions include conditions that are both treatable and untreatable with the help of modern medicine. These medical conditions range from slightly debilitating to life threatening and rank high on the things you don't want to see happen to anyone.

What are the worst things that can grow on the human body? What flesh diseases are treatable? This list of physical diseases highlights some of the outlandish things that affect the human body and what can be done to treat them. In some cases, there is no cure for these conditions, only options for treatment. Many of these conditions have long since been suppressed into remission and are not as often seen in most parts of the world, though many of these infectious diseases do still exist.

  • Elephantitis
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Most commonly seen in limbs, elephantiasis is a disease that causes the thickening of skin and the underlying tissues, causing the affected body parts to swell to abnormally large sizes. The disease is carried by microscopic, parasitic worms transferred by mosquitoes. Once present in the body, a chain of reactions can lead to the lymph system to shutting down, causing the swelling characteristic of the disease.

    There is no cure for Elephantitis, nor is there a vaccine currently available. Treatments include prescription drugs, rigorous washing of the affected areas, binding in elastic bandages, and in some cases, surgery.

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    Flesh Eating Disease

    Flesh Eating Disease
    Photo: Piotr Smuszkiewicz, Iwona Trojanowska and Hanna Tomczak / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Clinically known as necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh eating disease is an infection that travels across the subcutaneous tissues and lower layers of skin, destroying the healthy tissues as it spreads. The disease typically affects those with already compromised immune systems (those debilitated with cancer or other chronic diseases) and is caused by organisms normally found on the skin.

    Treatment early on in the infection is largely guesswork, with antibiotics being administered as soon as there is suspicion of the disease. A high incident of suspicion will lead to surgery and, in extreme cases, amputation.

  • Improper oral health is to blame for the most common forms of gingivitis, which is the destruction of the gums due to the presence of bacterial plaque and the body's response to it. When the reaction proves calamitous, bleeding, redness, soreness, and bad breath can all occur in the mouth.

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    Skin Shedding

    Skin Shedding
    Photo: J. Bland Sutton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Clinically known as Harlequin Ichthyosis, this severe genetic disorder, which mainly affects the skin, is found among infants. The most common cause of death is systemic infection, and sufferers rarely survive for more than a few days.

    The skin develops hard, diamond-shaped keratin scales all over the body, inhibiting the baby's movement. Where skin should fold, it hardens and cracks instead, leaving the baby vulnerable to fatal infections. Additionally, most babies born with Harlequin Ichthyosis are deformed, their body parts being underdeveloped or not existing at all.

    There have, however, been improvements in care, most notably the drug Isotretinoin (Isotrex). Some patients have survived into adolescence.

  • Liver Disease
    Photo: BruceBlaus / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    There are several common varieties of this disease—Fatty Liver Disease and Cirrhosis, to name a few—which can cause indigestion, reflux, gallstones, hemorroroids, nausea, bloating, constipation, and alcohol intolerance. Aside from the physical effects, there are psychological effects resulting from liver disease that can include depression, headaches, and mood changes.

    Treatments include steroid-based therapy, reduction of alcohol consumption, and improving diet and quality of physical activity.

  • Tapeworm
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Though an uncommon affliction in the first world, a tapeworm infection takes place in the digestive tract where the worm can cause symptoms of indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and sometimes anemia. Tapeworms are generally treated with one dose of medication, though the worst part of a tapeworm infection is when it is taken out whole, and patients see the giant parasite that's been living in the intestine.