Here’s What Happens When You Swallow Gum And, No, It Doesn’t Say In Your Stomach Forever

chewing gum

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We’ve all been force-fed lies about swallowing gum for our entire lives. We were told that swallowing gum would mean that gum stays in our stomach for 10+ years until it breaks down. Or that swallowing gum can cause a tree to sprout in your stomach. These are all just lies that parents tell kids to stop them from swallowing chewing gum.

So what actually happens when you swallow gum? Well, gum isn’t easily broken down like food so it’s not passed the same way…But it does get passed as long as you’re not swallowing several pieces of it every day. If that’s the case then you could be in for a world of hurt:

Here’s some of the video’s transcript, the relevant parts:

The more gum that your body has to process, the higher the likelihood that it’ll build up.
This gum mass could potentially clog your digestive tract, causing an intestinal blockage which can trigger stomach pain or constipation.
There’s a lovely name for this blockage: a bezoar. An 18-year old Israeli woman once suffered from a bezoar that blocked her stomach. The problem?
Turns out, she had been swallowing at least five pieces of gum every day.
The blockage had grown so large that doctors had to break it into smaller pieces and then fish it out of her, piece by piece.
But chewing gum alone isn’t necessarily bad for you.
A couple small studies have shown that the act of chewing gum can actually help relax you. Because it can help reduce levels of cortisol — a common stress hormone — in your saliva.
So, feel free to unwrap a stick.You won’t be alone. 56% of American chew gum, each about 280 sticks per year. It’s a 2 billion dollar industry in the U.S. (via)

So, what’d we learn here today? We learned that chewing gum can have some potential health benefits and that swallowing a piece of gum here or there isn’t going to mess you up. But swallowing gum on the regular is ill-advised because it can create a nasty blockage in your stomach that might have to be surgically removed.