What would happen if you swallowed gum
If you always swallow your gum, could it plug up your body? Could it kill you? It’s minty, fruity, and delicious. Chewing gum can help reduce stress levels and chewing a piece of sugar-free gum could improve your short-term memory.
But it also contains many ingredients used in things like caulking, white glue, and plastic bags. So is it safe to swallow gum? Let’s start by saying that gum does not stay in your stomach forever.
A healthy body can expel a piece of gum in a few days. So, swallowing a piece of gum from time to time isn’t going to kill you. But if you always choose to gobble down your gum, it could be another story. The problem is, gum doesn’t break down like other food.
Gum, like some seeds and corn, can turn into indigestible masses called bezoars. They can accumulate in your digestive tract, and even cause a blockage. It’s because gum is a kind of rubber. Originally made of chicle, a sap from the sapodilla tree in Central America, it was synthetized in a laboratory after World War II.
You’ve been swallowing several pieces of gum each day, for a few days. And they build up in your digestive system. If foods, fluids, gastric acids, and gas build up behind the blockage, it could create pressure.
You would probably experience bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation, among other things. And pain. You would definitely feel pain. You should probably pack a few things and seek treatment at the closest hospital.
If it’s a partial blockage, then you’re lucky. It’s easier to treat the problem. You’ll likely get intravenous fluids to rehydrate your body. A catheter into your bladder will drain out your urine. And a tube into your stomach would relieve pressure, swelling, and vomiting.
But if you have a complete blockage, it could tear you apart. Your intestines could rupture, leaking harmful bacteria into your abdominal cavity. That could kill you. Even if your stomach or intestines don’t rupture, a blockage can prevent blood from getting to other parts of your intestines. That can cause infection, tissue death, sepsis, and multiple organ failures.
And that could kill you too. Just in case you’re wondering. In both cases, you might need to go under the knife and that would be no fun. So it’s a terrible idea to keep swallowing your chewing gum.