Ever wondered what happens to your body when you die? You’re in good company. Many people have thought about this controversial topic at some point in their life. What happens after you die is a fascinating, yet frightening, natural process. The moment your heart stops beating, your body starts to decay. The only way to stop the decaying process is to mummify or embalm the body. The process of decay starts at the cellular level. Your body then starts to digest your tissues and organs with the help of bacteria and other animals. Below is an overview of what exactly happens to your body after you die.

Things Happens to Your Body Hours After Death


Some Organs Keep Living

After your heart has stopped beating and you’re no longer breathing, the body organs start to die gradually. Since all cells do not die at the same time, it gives a window of opportunity for you to be resuscitated and an even larger window for organ and tissue transplantation. You can actually donate tissues such as the cornea, skin, heart valves and marrow 15 hours after you have died.


Poop and Pee

Every muscle in your body relaxes as soon as you die. This includes the sphincter muscles that keep your bowels and bladder muscles locked. If there’s anything to expel at this point, it will seep out.


Wrinkles Disappear

The minute your heart stops beating, your muscles will lose all tension. The relaxation of your muscles makes the worry lines on your forehead and any other wrinkles disappear immediately. If you are very old, you will still have saggy skin. However, your forehead won’t be scrunched.


Your Nails and Hair Seem to Grow

There is a common misconception that your hair and nails keep growing after you’re dead. The truth is, your skin starts to dry out and in the process shrinks away from the hair follicles and cuticles. This makes your hair and nails appear longer than they actually are.


You Might Moan and Groan

Sounds scary, huh? It’s actually possible for you to moan, groan, sigh, or let out a squeaking sound after you are dead. You will need some help though. After you die, there is usually air left in your lungs. If someone moves or rolls your body, some of the air can be pushed out through your windpipe. This will rattle your vocal chords and produce a sound.


Gut Bacteria Runs Amok

The bacteria in your gut get the freedom to enter the bloodstream and use the blood vessels to travel to all parts of the body after you are dead. This is the bacterium that helps with digestion and keeps the immune system in tip-top condition. After spreading to other parts of the body, the bacteria will play a role in the decomposition of the body. Gut bacteria is the reason why dead bodies give off a bad smell. That’s what happens to your body when you die.


Your Skin Will Be Stained

Ever seen how JELL-O-like blood pools around dead bodies on TV? The same happens to the blood in your body when you die. Since there is no more blood flow, gravity causes the blood to pool and thicken at the lowest part of your body. This could be your feet if you’re sitting down or your butt if you’re lying on your back. If the blood stays there for 12 hours, the skin around that area will stain.


Rigor Mortis Happens

Rigor mortis is the stiffening of the muscles after a person dies. It is caused by the depletion of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is the chemical that helps with the relaxation of muscle fibers in the body. ATP is produced by the muscle cells through metabolic process. When you die and stop breathing, the cells stop producing the chemical. This causes the microscopic fibers in your muscles to lock up and stiffen the muscles. In about 2 to 4 hours, rigor mortis hits your facial muscles and the bigger muscle groups in about 6 to 12 hours. This goes on for about a day or two and then the muscles start looking more relaxed.

What Happens to a Dead Body in the Long Run?

Wondering what happens to your body when you die? Below is an overview of what exactly happens to your body from the moment you die to the final stages of decomposition.

In Days

The moment your heart stops beating, oxygen is swiftly exhausted and activity in the brain surges. Your neurons stop working and the brain stops releasing the hormones that regulate body functions. The remaining ATP, which provides the body with energy, is depleted and the muscles relax. 

After 15 to 20 minutes of death, the body turns pale as a result of lack of blood flow. The body then goes through livor mortis. This is the purple and red discoloration caused by the settling of blood as mentioned above. Livor mortis usually helps forensic investigators and coroners to determine the approximate time of death. 


In Weeks

In just a few weeks, maggots can consume up to 60% of the body’s tissue. The holes made by the maggots release gas and fluid as a result of decomposition. A process called butyric fermentation occurs 20 to 25 days after death,. It attracts fungi, beetle larvae and protozoa. This process is known as dry decay and can go on for about a year.


In Years

Any parts of the body remaining after a year are usually eaten by animals and plants over several years. Even the skeleton is not spared. Every part of the body is broken down in due time. The molecules are then recycled in nature.


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