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The Big List: Terrible tummies

Your stomach has a limit and while you may know this, other people seemingly don't. Here, we challenge the saying “you are what you eat” - that is unless you eat these things .

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Thursday 16 October 2014, 12:30PM

Chalky hair

In September 2012, doctors in a government hospital in India removed 1.8 kg of hair from the stomach of a 19-year-old who was admitted after complaining of not being able to eat or drink for a few days. A team of gastro-surgeons removed the 1.8 kg hardened ball of hair that was lodged between her stomach and small intestine during a surgery. It was discovered that the girl had a bad habit of eating her hair and chalk while in class.


In a moment of anger, a young girl in Foshan, China swallowed more than 20 cobblestones after fighting with her boyfriend back in 2006. The girl told doctors that she though they would pass, but as the days passed, the stones would knock against each other within her stomach causing severe pains. She was eventually admitted into the hospital after taking an X-ray.

Felt-tipped pen

QSI International School Phuket

Doctors found a felt-tipped pen that had been inside the stomach of a 76-year-old British woman for 25 years. The woman went in for a checkup on an unrelated problem when they found the object. She recalled accidentally swallowing the pen years earlier. When it was removed, they found that it still wrote clearly.

Brotherly love

In 1999, a 36-year-old man from Nagpur, India was rushed to the hospital and was shocked to discover a half-formed human with hands and feet in his stomach. The man was found to have suffered from a rare medical condition in which the fetus of his twin was trapped inside him while they were in the mum’s womb. It survived as a parasite by leaching blood from its ‘normal’ human brother.

Cutlery set

There were 78 different items of cutlery inside the stomach of a 52-year-old Dutch woman. Doctors removed 26 forks and 52 spoons. The woman suffered from a personality disorder that gave her an urge to eat cutlery. The obsession, known as pica, is when individuals crave and eat non-food substances. The woman has made a full recovery.



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