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Urology/Urinary system and intestine atrophy


I am sorry beforehand if this question is silly.
I am writing a fantasy novel in which some people doesn't have to eat or drink to survive, though they can if they want to.
My question is, if internal organs responsible for urination and defecation do not work for a while, would they atrophy? If a person such as mentioned above would eat after a few years, would his organism still be able to digest and remove foods and drinks?
I know it's a very hypothetical question, but any help on this topic would be great.
Thank you


I can't address the GI tract as that is not my field, but I can take a stab at the kidneys.  There is no way to stop the kidneys from working for any long period of time without ruining them.  Essentially, a kidney can survive blockage and even medical problems that cause a complete shutdown temporarily, but a long term period of non-function would certainly cause atrophy and failure.

Since you're writing a fantasy novel, try freezing the kidneys or putting them in some kind of "stasis" field since otherwise they can't work.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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