10 Bodily Functions That Continue After Death

NOTE: If you’re viewing this post from a mobile device, or would simply like more information on each slide, please scroll below to see captions/descriptions for slideshow. This post is not for those with a weak stomach. We warned you… maybe you should read something about puppies?

What do we really know about what happens after death? Not much. But we do know what happens to the physical human body.

Death and dying are an inevitable part of life, there is no escaping it.

When the heart stops beating and no blood can reach your brain, after about 10 seconds all brain activity ceases. That’s about the point when you’d be officially considered dead. Clinically, anyways.

Still, even after you are technically dead, there are certain bodily functions that continue for minutes, hours, days, and even weeks after.

You will not believe the kind of things a dead body is still capable of doing. Check out the 10 bodily functions that continue after death in the slideshow above and descriptions below.

Muscles
Rigor mortis causes muscle contraction among other unpleasant side-effects. Muscles tend to retain certain reflexes after death, which don’t involve the brain. Can cause spasming, twitching and even movements that looks as if they are still alive.

Hair & Nails
It’s a common misconception that once you die your hair and nails will continue to grow. Although it may appear as if  a dead person’s hair or nails grew, what you’re seeing is actually the skin losing moisture and retracting. It’s not new hair or nail tissue being produced.

Vocalization
Would you be terrified if you thought someone was dead, only to walk out of the room and hear them letting out a sigh or groaning? We’d definitely be freaking out big time. Like a scene out of a horror movie, this bodily function is really common. Due to the build-up of gases and the contraction of muscles, the lungs often compress and the last remnants of air gets squeezed out of the mouth.

Erection & Ejaculation
A death erection (also named “angel lust”) is a postmortem erection that occurs when a man dies vertically or face-down. Yes, this is something that actually happens. And something we’d like to soon forget.

Brain Activity
Even if your heart stops beating and you stop breathing, the brain can technically stay alive for at least a few minutes longer. In those final moments, the brain is scrambling for nutrients and oxygen to stay alive. With the right drugs (and under the idea circumstances) the brain can stay alive for a few more days. Ideally, doctors would then have the chance to save your life, although this is not guaranteed.

Digestion
Just because you’re dead, that doesn’t mean the bacteria inside your gut dies with you. Nope. It stays alive and well, often eating through the lining of our intestines, making more of that putrid gas and exiting our corpse in a timely fashion.

Skin Growth
Skin cells can stay “alive” for days after death. Because these cells are located on the outside of your body, they are capable of taking oxygen in through osmosis.

Urination
The same part of our brain that regulates our heartbeat and breathing also is in control of peeing. That’s right, peeing is not a voluntary function. So, when our brain dies, our muscles relax and the urinary sphincter opens up, causing people to urinate after death.

Expelling Poo
The body tends to eliminate waste under stress. After a body dies, gas produced inside the body pushes anything remaining in the colon out. This can even occur hours after death. Sadly, it’s one of the last things we do in life.

Giving Birth
In rare cases, when women died while pregnant, sometimes gases built up inside their body and the fetus was expelled. Back in the day, the term “coffin birth” was coined before quick burials and proper embalming methods were utilized.

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