5-year-old boy swallowed 40 pieces of gum, rushed to the hospital

The doctors were able to remove the ball of gum that was blocking his intestines in a non-surgical procedure.

 Child chewing gum. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Child chewing gum.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

A 5-year-old boy from Ohio, USA, was rushed to the hospital suffering from diarrhea and severe stomach pain, after he swallowed 40 chewing gums at once.

The poor boy, whose details have not been published, chewed and swallowed 40 sugar-free gums and arrived at the emergency room the next day, accompanied by his parents.

In the case description published last week in JEM Reports, it was stated that the doctors rushed to check whether there were indigestible foreign objects in the child's digestive system, since children tend to swallow objects.

The boy underwent a series of tests and was quickly diagnosed with an intestinal obstruction.

The team of doctors, led by Dr. Chizit Ihanonko of the Cleveland Clinic, discovered a huge rubbery lump in his stomach that was blocking his intestines.

Gum doesn't stay in the body for seven years

In a non-surgical procedure, the doctors were able to remove the ball of gum with the help of an esophagoscope (metal tube) and the use of forceps inserted through the child's throat.

The boy then also suffered from a sore throat due to the multiple "passes" made to retrieve the rubber ball, but was eventually released with no long-term health consequences, according to the report.

Experts have disproven the popular belief that swallowed chewing gum remains in the human body for 7 years.

"If you swallowed gum, it comes out about 40 hours later in your stool," dietician Beth Cervany told the Cleveland Clinic last year, "since it can't be digested, it comes out whole." Although this is reassuring news, swallowing gum is still not recommended.

"Repeated action like this, daily or several times a day, may lead to intestinal blockage," warned Charvani, "everything you eat after that will not be able to pass through." This will cause a blockage that will lead to pain and stress."