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Does Swallowing Gum Cause Intestinal Problems?

Başlatan Fussilet, Nisan 27, 2009, 08:22:29 ÖS

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Does Swallowing Gum Cause Intestinal Problems?

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What happens if you swallow gum? Does it cause intestinal problems?
– Dave*

Almost everyone has swallowed a piece of gum at some point. But very few people ever need to see a doctor because of it.

Chewing gum is made up of the gum itself (called gum resin), preservatives, flavorings, and sweeteners. The human body is unable to digest the gum resin. But swallowed gum does not stay in the stomach or cause intestinal problems. That's because our bodies move most materials that can't be digested (like gum) through the digestive system and out of our bodies in a bowel movement.

In rare cases, swallowing a large mass of gum, or many small pieces of gum over a short period of time, can block the digestive tract. Blockages in the digestive system are most likely to happen when gum is swallowed along with other indigestible things (like sunflower seed shells).

Although people cannot digest gum resin, they can digest the things that have been added to chewing gum, such as sweeteners or even medications (think of the nicotine gum used by people trying to quit smoking). The body absorbs these just through the act of chewing. This is where chewing gum can affect a person's health: When a person chews a lot of sugary gum, the calories can add up.

For more information, check out this article:
Digestive System

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: August 2006
Originally reviewed by: David E. Milov, MD

Have a question? Email us.

Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.
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-Fussilet-
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