Q:

What would happen if I swallowed a piece of plastic?

A:

Small smooth plastic objects, like beads normally pass through the digestive system unaltered and cause no harm, according to Women's and Children's Health Network. If the item passes through the esophagus, it's normally small enough to pass through the rest of the digestive system.

If the item causes breathing problems, emergency medical care is required. The American Family Physician says the doctor may attempt to remove the object or push it through to the stomach, depending on its size and location. Locating the object sometimes requires use of X-ray. Doctors sometimes perform a series of X-rays to ensure the object is moving through the system without causing harm.

While most objects cause no symptoms at all, eMedicineHealth indicates the texture of an item sometimes causes bleeding. Some swallowed items cause immediate choking or vomiting. If the item lodges in the throat, the individual sometimes experiences symptoms that include pain in the chest, pain when swallowing or drooling. If a child refuses to eat, has blood in the vomit or stool or suffers malnutrition and weight loss after swallowing plastic, medical care is advisable.

In young children, swallowing plastic is often a part of natural curiosity. In teens and adults, swallowing plastic is often an attention-seeking behavior, according to eMedicineHealth.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the hair shaft?

    A:

    Hair shafts have various functions, including regulating body temperature, protecting sensitive parts of the body from harm and facilitating the evaporation of sweat, according to Dartmouth University. Hair shafts are the visible part of hair on the surface of the skin.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the buccal cavity?

    A:

    The buccal cavity functions as an entrance to the digestive system. It is composed of the teeth, tongue and palate. Once food enters the buccal cavity, it is moved to the pharynx and esophagus, then travels onward through the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anal opening.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is assimilation in the digestive system?

    A:

    Assimilation in the digestive system is the process by which nutrients from foods are taken into the cells of the body after the food has been digested and absorbed, according to IvyRose Holistic. There are four basic stages of the digestive system process.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does food travel through the digestive system?

    A:

    Food begins its journey through the digestive system in the mouth, before being pushed by a series of involuntary muscle contractions through the esophagus, then the stomach, and then the small and large intestines. The digestive system is essentially a series of long, hollow organs lined with muscles that contract in a rhythmic pattern, known as peristalsis, to keep food moving in the correct direction.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore