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5-Year-Old Boy Hospitalised After Swallowing 40 Pieces Of Chewing Gum

Last Updated: May 29, 2023, 13:22 IST

A piece of gum swallowed usually comes out through stool in about 40 hours of consumption. (Representative Image)

The doctors removed the gum using an oesophagoscope, a specialised metal tube.

A 5-year-old boy from Ohio, USA found himself in a sticky situation after swallowing a bunch of chewing gum. The gums got stuck in the boy’s stomach and had to be removed through external intervention. A case study published in the journal JEM Reports, sheds light on the consequences of the child’s ingestion of approximately 40 pieces of gum. The 5-year-old experienced uncomfortable symptoms, including cramps and diarrhoea, caused by an obstructed gastrointestinal tract.

This prompted the team of medical experts, led by Dr Chizite Iheonunekwu of the Cleveland Clinic, investigate the possibility of ‘bezoars,’ an indigestible foreign object that children occasionally swallow.

Advanced imaging scans revealed that the young boy’s stomach was, quite literally, gummed up. A sizeable mass of gums in the stomach was the source of the boy’s discomfort.

The doctors removed the gum using an oesophagoscope, a specialised metal tube. The medical team inserted the down the boy’s throat to extract the hum. The process required multiple “passes,” leading to a sore throat for the 5-year-old boy.

The case appears to give support to old theory that chewing gum remains stuck in the body for seven years. However, dietician Beth Czerwony clarified that could only happen in event of some other medical condition.

“You’d have to be experiencing some other medical condition for anything you swallowed to stay in your body for seven years,” she told Cleveland Clinic as reported by the New York Post.

Czerwony clarified that a piece of gum swallowed usually comes out through stool within about 40 hours of consumption.

While there is no need to panic after accidentally consuming chewing gum, it could cause trouble in regular occurrence. Swallowing chewing up could also choke up the food pipe, or clock intestines. In case of pain or discomfort after swallowing chewing gum, expert medical assistance should be sought to avoid bigger complications.

In a previous incident, a scissor stuck in a Bangladeshi woman’s stomach for nearly 20 years was surgically removed. The woman experienced severe stomach pain for over four years when medical scans revealed the presence of scissors in the body. The scissors reportedly got stuck in her stomach when she had undergone a gallbladder operation over 2 decades ago.

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