gum in stomach

PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

Janice asks:

Does gum stay in your system any certain length of time, or does it go straight through your system as all else does?

Dear Janice,

This is a sticky question. Parents who would prefer that their child not eat gum are inclined to tell them that if swallowed it will either stay in the stomach for seven years, or end up in the appendix along with the chewed-off fingernails and other non-digestibles that children tend to love to consume.

But the truth of the matter is that what goes in, must come out. The regular activity of the digestive tract makes it nearly impossible for anything, even gum, to stick around. Gum is made up of a gum base (resin), sweeteners, preservatives and flavorings. The sugars are absorbed by the body, and the undigestable resin is passed along the digestive tract and eliminated with a bowel movement within a day or two.

Motherload is a Certified Nurse Assistant as well as an IBS sufferer, which means she knows a lot about poop. Got a question for her? Ask it here.

17 Comments on "gum in stomach"

simian's picture

My parents lied to me! This really screws up my whole worldview. I'm going to look into this Santa thing ASAP

Kam's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Swallowing the occasional piece of gum is probably not harmful, however it is well known that repeated, habitual swallowing of gum can lead to adverse effects mainly due to mechanical obstruction of the digestive tract. The formation of chewing gum "bezoars" with repeated swallowing is well documented. Here's a link for a medical journal article on the topic (a couple of case reports), but it's by no means a rare occurrence

Dave's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooper

The abstract from the article above:

"hildren have chewed gum since the Stone Age. Black lumps of prehistoric tar with human tooth impressions have been found in Northern Europe dating from ~7000 BC (Middle Stone Age) to 2000 BC (Bronze Age). The bite impressions suggest that most chewers were between 6 and 15 years of age. The Greeks chewed resin from the mastic tree (mastic gum). North American Indians chewed spruce gum. The first manufacturing patent for chewing gum was issued in 1869 for a natural gum, chicle, derived from the Sopadilla tree, indigenous to Central America. Chewing gum sold today is a mixture of natural and synthetic gums and resins, with added color and flavor sweetened with corn syrup and sugar. Chewing gum is big business. A significant amount of the $21 billion US candy industry sales is from chewing gums, many of which appeal almost exclusively to children. Despite the history and prevalence of gum chewing, the medical literature contains very little information about the adverse effects of chewing gum. In the present report, we briefly review gum-chewing complications and describe three children who developed intestinal tract and esophageal obstruction as a consequence of swallowing gum."

Some highlights:

"On the 5th day, the child was brought in for manual disimpaction under conscious sedation and rectal suction biopsy. On removal of the leading edge of the fecoma, a "taffy-like" trail of fecal material remained in the rectum. This mass was eventually manually withdrawn and was primarily made up of chewing gum. On further history, this boy always swallowed his gum after chewing five to seven pieces of gum each day."

"Manual disimpaction occurred 7 days later with conscious sedation. On this occasion, the fecal mass was unmistakably chewing gum, because it contained multiple spheres of chewed gum congealed into a multicolored rectal mass."

Three case studies do not a statistcal sample make. However, the article certainly implies that you shouldn't be swallowing a pack of gum a day. Sound advice!

the log of hazzard's picture
l 100+ points

Another reason to hate school: teachers lie.

All I know is that if you swallow to much gum, it has a laxitive effect.

Some are born crappy, some achieve crappiness, and some have crapiness thrusted upon them. (Do NOT be the last one)

Pimp_G_Dawg's picture

I wonder if you fish through your huge BM after eating a wad of gum if it would still have any flavor?

What do you think?

Double Flush's picture
k 500+ points

I think it would taste like shit. If you want to go through your turds, feel free. I personally wouldn't, and I don't even chew gum.

"Double the flush, double the fun" --The Amazing Anus

[Insert witty banter here]

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

Most ruminants don't DF.

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points

I'm reminded of an episode of my favorite t.v. show, House. A guy walks into the clinic complaining he has "a lot of diarrhea" (about 8 times a day), a symptom that presented itself after he quit smoking. He describes his problem while chewing gum nastily, like a cow chews cud. House informs him that most sugar free gum is sweetened by sorbitol, which is a laxative if taken in high quantities. The idiot was chewing an average of 7 packs a day.

How can anyone chew that much gum a day, and how could they not realize that said gum is giving them their cream of colon soup?
Boggles the mind.

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

Poopie, we have some people over in the forums who believe burning fossil fuels somehow enhances the environment. Kind of like an episode of flip this house where the host says "What this neighbourhood needs is a really nice tire fire".

Yes, humans can boggle the mind.

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points

Bunga, those people are right. Personally, I think the fumes that come out of my 14 year old car enhance the look and feel of my garage.

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points

Should I swallow, or should I spit?
Will it stick inside or come out as shit?
Damn this gum, tis awful stuff!
Will it some out smooth, or come out rough?
In my mouth it caused fresh breath,
But in my ass will it cause death?
Who can tell me, (I may be in trouble!)
Will it fall out my ass or form a bubble?
Tell me now, don't be shy,
Can I poop it out or will I die?
Will I scream and blow a lung
When Juicy Fruit comes out my bung?
Will I get frisky with the DoubleMint twins,
Or will drizzly shit spatter on my shins?
I beg you tell me if you give a shit,
Should I swallow or should I spit?

Anonymous Coward's picture

Hey AC, I don't know what the hell kind of drugs you take, but gimme some!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

I think drugs would stunt the talent.

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

Fart Poopie, do not underestimate the power of nicotine gum. There is a reason people smoke: Chemical Reason. When I quit my half-a-pack a day smoking habit, I went to gum. The gum is such a good nicotine delivery system (put five pieces in your mouth and you'll see stars) that I quickly became addicted. Unable to afford my gum habit, I went back to Kools, but now had to smoke TWO packs a day to keep up with the gum.

This whole thing reminds me of the childhood trauma of having your mom tell you tall tales. That led to my entry in the limerick contest:
Mom said "Son don't swallow your gum.
It'll plug up the hole in your bum."
She forgot 'bout the fiber,
that I have up inside there.
I shoot Dentyne like a machine gun.

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

Now I know how taffy is made.

"On removal of the leading edge of the fecoma, a "taffy-like" trail of fecal material remained in the rectum."

Sir SamDamnit!
The Prince of Poop

The Emir of Crapistan

browneyegurl805's picture

Dung daddy,

The power of nicotine gum at first isnt to make you stop smoking altogether, it is supposed to stop the PHYSICAL addiction...
i actually asked my aunt that question the other day... i hope this helps you lol

faye20063's picture

Hey, how do you post a question for somebody to answer? I know this has nothing to do with this but I have a question that I would like to get answered.but I don't know how to post it?

Faye...if you will change your profile so you accept e-mails we will be glad to help you.


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