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5-Year-Old Boy In US Swallowed 40 Pieces Of Gum. Here’s What Happened Next

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5-Year-OId Boy In US Undergoes Emergency Operation After Swallowing 40 Pieces Of Gum

The boy was discharged without long-term health consequences.(Unsplash/Representative pic)

A 5-year-old boy in the United States underwent an emergency medical procedure after swallowing a large quantity of chewing gum, resulting in an obstructed gastrointestinal tract. 

According to a case study published in JEM Reports, the unidentified boy was taken to the emergency room in Ohio with severe cramps and diarrhoea as the 40 pieces of gum he had swallowed a day before formed a clump in his stomach. 

At first, clinicians checked the 5-year-old for “bezoars”, otherwise known as indigestible foreign objects that children tend to swallow. The team of doctors, led by Dr Chizite Iheonunekwu of the Cleveland Clinic, then discovered his gummed-up stomach with scans that revealed a large mass. 

As per the study, the doctors removed the gum by placing a metal tube down his throat and using forceps to grasp the buildup. The 5-year-old suffered a sore throat due to multiple “passes” undertaken to extract the sticky glob, but he was later discharged without long-term health consequences. 

The doctors stated that the 5-year-old boy was lucky the gum had not gone on to block his intestine which could’ve turned fatal. 

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Meanwhile, according to the New York Post, over the years, several experts have debunked the notion that swallowed gum stays in the body for only seven years. “If you’ve swallowed a piece of gum, it’ll come out about 40 hours later in your stool,” registered dietitian Beth Czerwony said last year, adding, “Because it can’t be digested, it comes right out whole”. 

However, the dietitian also stated that consuming the minty fresh shouldn’t be a regular habit as it can cause intestinal distress because it cannot be digested.

“If you do this every day, or multiple times a day, it can cause an intestinal blockage,” Ms Czerwony cautioned. “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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