Medication Guide App

Foreign Body Ingestion


Foreign body ingestion is when an object becomes stuck in your esophagus (throat). Examples of foreign bodies include dental work and button batteries. A piece of food or a fish bone can also become stuck in your esophagus.


Look for the object in your bowel movements:

Search for the dental work, battery, or other small, smooth object each time you have a bowel movement. Do not use laxatives or stool softeners. Do not force yourself to vomit.

If you ingested a foreign body:

  • Do not stick your finger into your throat to try and remove an object. This could push the object even deeper.

  • Do cough. You may be able to cough out the foreign body.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist as directed:

You may need to return for x-rays or other tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist if:

  • You do not find the foreign object in your bowel movement within 2 or 3 days.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have more difficulty or pain when you swallow.

  • You have severe vomiting.

  • You have chest or abdominal pain, or shortness of breath.

  • Your vomit is bloody.

  • Your bowel movements are black or bloody.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Foreign Body Ingestion (Aftercare Instructions)