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Swallowed Object in Adults

What is it? A swallowed object is also called a foreign (for-un) body. Once swallowed, the foreign body enters the GI tract. The GI tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus (rear end). If a foreign body gets stuck, it usually gets stuck in the esophagus (food tube). Once the foreign body is in the stomach, it is usually passed when having a BM.

Causes: Meat and bones are common things that get stuck in the GI tract. Babies and toddlers may choke on food pieces if the food is not cut into small pieces. Children often swallow small batteries.

Signs and Symptoms: You may have abdominal (belly) pain, chest pain, or vomiting (throwing up). You may not be able to swallow.

Care: You may need x-rays to try to find the object. Caregivers may put a tube down your throat to try to see and remove the object. If meat is stuck in your throat, you may be given medicine to relax your throat muscles. This may make it easier to swallow the meat. You may need to go into the hospital to be closely watched. Rarely, surgery may be needed to remove the object.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about swallowed foreign body and how it can be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.