What really happens when you swallow gum?

What really happens when you swallow gum?

Written By: Purva Published In: ROOT Created Date: 2016-07-30 Hits: 339

You surely would have heard the rumors as a kid: Swallow gum and it will be in your stomach for seven long years or to the worst, it can wrap itself around your heart. Is it possible that your mom’s cranky warnings were right?

If you look at the ingredients of the chewing gum, it is just a delicious mix of indigestible compounds. Most of the time, your stomach cannot break these compounds especially the rubber polymers. Hence, it doesn’t disappear into mush like most of our food does, even after chewing for so long. It stays in a solid lump, all the way down into your stomach and that’s why people believe it sits there for years.

To be clear, the chewing gum won’t stay in your stomach for so long, not even for seven years. Relieved right? but there is some sort of truth in the old tales. Sort of for sure or you can say it is worse than that!

Here are some worst cases that happened due to gum swallowing. Warning, the following cases is not for squeamish.

Worst cases:

A 1988 article in the journal Pediatrics discussed horrid cases in which kids swallowed the chewing gum.

A four and a half year boy , totally addicted to chewing gum, indulged in nearly 7 gums a day. Sadly, he disposed of each one of them down the throat. A mass of insoluble material created a blockage that the doctors had to pull out manually.

A four-year-old would have several gums a day as a reward from her parents. She swallowed several of them. The multiple layers of gums conglomerated and got accumulated in the rectal mass. The rectal mass had to be manually removed and it displayed a long multi-coloured skinny trail of gum said one of the doctors.

But then, not to forget, there are only a handful of these cases and that too only for young kids.

Although chewing gum is not designed to be swallowed, generally it is unharmful if you swallow mistakenly , ONCE A WHILE. The gum will be excreted in the stools. On rare occasions, if swallowed in EXCESS can cause digestive problems.

The most important inference from all these worst cases is that Kids below 5, the ones who don’t clearly understand the importance of not swallowing it, should not be allowed to have a chewing gum. Besides a fear of being swallowed, it is highly addictive and too much of anything is not at all good especially for the young tots.

Since we all have accidentally gulped a few of these gums, it’s highly unlikely that it has gummed your gut. It is possible that the sticky gum has lingered longer in our body, but the delay is surely debatable because our stomach has an efficient system for knocking out the food from our body, digested or undigested.