Skip to Content

Foreign Body Ingestion


A foreign body is an object you swallowed. Examples include dental work and button batteries. A foreign body can cause problems as it moves through your digestive system.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have severe abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

  • Your vomit or saliva is bloody.

  • Your bowel movements are black or bloody.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

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

  • You do not want to eat because of abdominal pain or vomiting.

  • You are drooling or hoarse.

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

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.

Prevent another foreign body ingestion:

  • Cut your food into small pieces. Chew your food well before you swallow.

  • Make sure dentures or other dental fixtures are secure. You may need to go to the dentist to have dental work repaired.

Follow up with your healthcare provider 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.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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)