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Digestive System

Can you die if you swallow a soda tab what will happen?


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February 24, 2014 8:12PM

Eat some fiber. Create some additional mass, something that will be kind of soft yet firm to share the ride along the alimentary canal. Expect to see it in 12-24 hours depending on your system.

What You Should Know

Once swallowed, a foreign body can get stuck anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the throat to the stomach and intestines. Pointed objects are more dangerous than round ones. Once the object has reached the stomach, it usually passes through the body by itself without causing problems. This usually takes several days, but may take as long as 2 or 3 weeks. If the object is stuck and must be removed, the doctor may be able to take it out by going down your throat with a tube. Otherwise, you may need surgery.


In adults, meat and bones are the objects that most commonly get stuck in the GI tract.


Symptoms range from belly pain or chest pain to anxiety, throwing up, and not being able to swallow.


Depends on what you swallowed and where it is. If you have a piece of meat stuck below your throat, you may be given medicine in an IV to relax your muscles. This may make it easier to swallow the meat or throw it up. The doctor may order x-rays to find the object. If nothing shows up on the x-ray, your throat and food pipe may be examined through a tube with a scope. Metal detectors can be skimmed over your body to locate metal objects. Once the object is found, your doctor may try to remove it, or you may simply be watched closely in the hospital or at home.


The degree of danger depends on what you swallowed. Without treatment, sharp objects can damage parts of the gastrointestinal tract and cause major bleeding. Other objects can block part of the GI tract.

What You Should Do

If the swallowed object has not been removed, you should check your stools to make sure it passes. Putting the stool in a strainer and running water over it may make the job easier.

Eat a high-fiber diet until you pass the object. Good choices are whole grain bread, oatmeal and bran cereals, and fresh fruits and vegetables. You may use milk of magnesia to help move the object through your intestines. Do NOT take any other laxatives. If the object doesn't pass, you may need more x-rays and other tests.

Call Your Doctor If...

You do not see the swallowed object in your stool within a few days.

Seek Care Immediately If...

You start throwing up, gagging, choking, drooling, have neck or throat pain, or cannot swallow.

You start coughing, wheezing, or breathing noisily.

You have a high temperature.

You start having pain in your stomach, or see bleeding from your rectum or blood in your stool.

What To Expect In The Hospital

Upper GI: This is an x-ray of your stomach and intestines. You will need to drink a chalky liquid before the test. It blocks x-rays so that an outline of the GI tract will appear on the film.

Endoscopy (end-OS-ko-pee): To locate the object, the doctor may need to pass a soft tube through your mouth and into your GI tract. A light and camera lens at the end of the tube allow the doctor to view the surroundings.

CT Scan ( also called a CAT Scan ): In this test, a computer composes pictures of your GI tract.

Chest X-ray: This picture of your lungs and heart will show whether they have been affected in any way.

NG Tube: Also called a nasogastric (naz-o-GAS-trik) tube, this device is passed through your nose or mouth and down into your stomach. The tube is attached to suction to keep the stomach empty.

Taking Vital Signs: These include your temperature, blood pressure, pulse (counting your heartbeats), and respirations (counting your breaths). A stethoscope is used to listen to your heart and lungs. Your blood pressure is taken by wrapping a cuff around your arm.

Pulse Oximeter: You may be hooked up to a pulse oximeter (ox-IM-uh-ter). It is placed on your ear, finger, or toe and is connected to a machine. It measures the oxygen in your blood.

Blood: Usually taken from a vein in your hand or from the bend in your elbow. Tests will be done on the blood.

IV: A tube placed in your vein for giving medicine or liquids. It will be capped or have tubing connected to it.

ECG: Also called a heart monitor, an electrocardiograph (e-lec-tro-CAR-dee-o-graf), or EKG. The patches on your chest are hooked up to a TV-type screen or a small portable box (telemetry unit). This screen shows a tracing of each heart beat. Your heart is being watched for signs of injury or damage that could be related to the object.