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Popular tea causes ‘blockage’ in teen’s stomach

A teenager who was left in agony after enjoying a popular drink left doctors stunned when they discovered what was really going on inside.

It’s one of the most popular drinks in Asia and as a result, has become a fast growing phenomenon in Australia.

Now it’s left a teenage boy was hospitalised after it caused his colon to become blocked with two hard stones.

So if you’re a fan of bubble tea, a milk or fruit-based beverage that is sweetened and filled with tapioca pearls — you may want to pay attention now.

An unnamed patient was treated recently at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinxiang Medical University in central China after he failed to digest the starchy balls in the drink, The Sun reported.

Popular tea causes ‘blockage’ in teen’s stomach

Doctors found two objects obstructing the teen's bowels. Picture: AsiaWireSource:Supplied

They discovered it was tapioca balls from bubble tea. Picture: AsiaWireSource:Supplied

Medics discovered two solid objects known as fecaliths – or stones made of faeces – measuring two and three centimetres in size in his colon.

Paediatric surgeon Zhang Haiyang, who treated the boy at the end of last year, said the boy’s bowel obstruction was more than likely caused by his love for bubble tea.

The drink, originally from the island of Taiwan, is also known as pearl milk tea or “boba”.

It typically contains dozens of starchy tapioca balls, which are notoriously hard to digest.

Bubble tea is originally from the island of Taiwan and is also known as pearl milk tea or 'boba'. Picture: AsiaWireSource:Supplied

“Around 3am while I was on call, a 13-year-old boy was brought in with sudden abdominal pain,” Dr Zhang said. “X-rays pointed to bowel obstruction.”

The teen was kept under observation overnight, and an operation was scheduled the following day when his condition failed to improve.

“While inspecting his intestines, we discovered two solid objects, one larger and one smaller,” Dr Zhang said.

“These two objects were causing his obstruction.”

The boy was forced to have surgery when his condition deteriorated. Picture: AsiaWireSource:Supplied

As the objects appeared relatively soft and could be crushed, surgeons opted against cutting the objects out of the boy’s colon, the hospital explained.

“About two or three days after the surgery, he was able to pass them out with his stool,” Dr Zhang added.

“While gathering further medical history, the young patient said he had had a cup of bubble tea about a week before his symptoms began.

“He didn’t chew on the bubbles and swallowed them whole.”

Dr Zhang said the patient had another cup about three to four days after that, and on both occasions he didn’t chew and only swallowed.

“It’s therefore very likely that the tapioca pearls stuck together, causing his bowel obstruction,” he said.

The teenager suffered no long-term effects from the ordeal.

It’s not the first time a case like this has emerged recently, after a 14-year-old girl from Zhejiang Province in East China was found with more than 100 undigested tapioca balls occupying her stomach and intestines.

A teenage girl was also found with 100 bubble tea balls trapped in her body. Picture: AsiaWireSource:Supplied

The girl, known as Xiao Shen, loved the sweet, milky bubble tea — the popular drink caused her more trouble than it was worth, leaving her in an emergency department bed surrounded by stunned physicians.

The teen — who showed signs of severe bloating — revealed she hadn’t experienced a bowel movement for five days and was struggling to eat.

Her concerned parents raced her to the emergency department of the Zhuji People’s Hospital in Zhejiang Province.

Xiao Shen’s doctor, Zhang Louzhen, ordered urgent CT scans of her abdomen, and what he found left him completely speechless, the report stated.

The physician discovered more than 100 tiny “granular shadows” dotted throughout the teenager’s digestive tract — from her stomach, through her intestines and down to her anus.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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