5-year-old swallows 40 pieces of gum, undergoes emergency operation in US

5-year-old swallows 40 pieces of gum, undergoes emergency operation in US

May 29, 2023 - 21:30
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5-year-old swallows 40 pieces of gum, undergoes emergency operation in US

Gum chewing is generally a harmless and smart habit. Need something sweet? Pop a stick of gum for 5 calories. Need some gum when stressed? It’s better than chewing on a co-worker. You can chew on some gum when you’re hungry while deciding what to make next. Nevertheless, this habit is better performed in small numbers. Talking of which, a 5-year-old boy suffered an obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract after swallowing 40 pieces of chewing gum in the United States.

A case study published in JEM report describes the case of a boy with complaints of severe abdominal pain and accompanied diarrhoea. The patient, a young boy, swallowed a large quantity of chewing gum a day before clinical analysis. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis area indicated a gastric bezoar because of chewing gums in excess. To remove the chewing gum mass collected inside, several passes of an esophagoduodenoscopy (EGD) were performed successfully.

The diagnosis

According to ScienceDirect, Bezoars are collections of indigestible material that have become too large to pass through the remainder of the gastrointestinal tract.

The 5-year-old was first analysed for “bezoars,” otherwise known as indigestible foreign objects that children often swallow. A scan of his stomach which was detected by the doctors, led by Dr Chizite Iheonunekwu at the Cleveland Clinic, revealed a large mass.

Gastric bezoars are uncommon and vary in appearance. Children with postprandial fullness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or weight loss should be considered for bezoars as part of their differential diagnosis. For paediatric patients, it is important for physicians to consider bezoars in differential diagnosis. Bezoar complications include ischemia and perforation. A thorough history can help delineate the bezoar material. Treatment of bezoars varies and can include carbonated beverages, endoscopy, and surgery.

The emergency operation

A metal tube was placed down his throat and forceps were used to grasp the gum build-up, as per the study. As a result of multiple “passes” to remove the sticky glob, the 5-year-old suffered a sore throat, but was eventually discharged without any long-term health effects. The 5-year-old boy’s intestines weren’t blocked by gum, which could have caused death.

Over the years, several experts have debunked the myth that swallowed gum stays in the body for only seven years. According to dietician Beth Czerwony as quoted by New York Post, “If you’ve swallowed a piece of gum, it’ll come out about 40 hours later in your stool. Because it can’t be digested, it comes out whole.”

 In addition, the dietitian indicated that minty fresh gum shouldn’t be consumed often as it cannot be digested, resulting in intestinal distress.

“If you do this every day, or multiple times a day, it can cause an intestinal blockage,” Czerwony warned. “Anything you eat after that isn’t going to be able to get through, which causes a backup that leads to pain and pressure,” she added.

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