It is one of the most popular drinks in Asia and, as a result, it has become a fast growing phenomenon in Australia.
Now a teenager is hospitalized after he blocked his colon with two hard stones.
So, if you are a fan of bubble tea, a milk or a fruit-based drink that is sweetened and filled with tapioca pearls, you may want to pay attention now.
An unidentified patient was recently treated at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinxiang Medical University in central China after he was unable to digest the starch balls in the drink, Sun reported.
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The doctors discovered two solid objects known as fecalites, or stones made of feces, measuring two and three centimeters in size in their colon.
Pediatric surgeon Zhang Haiyang, who treated the boy at the end of last year, said the child’s intestinal obstruction was probably 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 usually contains dozens of starch tapioca balls, which are notoriously difficult to digest.
“Around 3 am while on duty, a 13-year-old boy was brought with sudden abdominal pain,” said Dr. Zhang. “X-rays pointed to intestinal obstruction.”
The teenager was kept under observation during the night, and an operation was scheduled the next day when his condition did not improve.
“While inspecting your intestines, we discovered two solid objects, one larger and one smaller,” said Dr. Zhang.
“These two objects were causing their obstruction.”
Since the objects seemed relatively soft and could be crushed, the surgeons chose not to cut the objects from the child’s colon, the hospital explained.
“Approximately two or three days after surgery, he was able to distribute them with his stool,” added Dr. Zhang.
“While compiling more medical history, the young patient said he had a cup of bubble tea about a week before his symptoms began.
“He didn’t chew the bubbles and swallow them whole.”
Dr. Zhang said the patient had another cup about three or four days after that, and on both occasions he did not chew and just swallowed.
“Therefore, it is very likely that tapioca pearls stick together, causing their intestinal obstruction,” he said.
The teenager did not suffer long-term effects of the test.
It is not the first time that a case like this has emerged recently, after a 14-year-old girl from Zhejiang Province in eastern China was found with more than 100 undigested tapioca balls that occupied her stomach and intestines.
The girl, known as Xiao Shen, loved sweet and milky bubble tea: the popular drink caused her more trouble than it was worth, leaving her in an emergency department bed surrounded by stunned doctors.
The teenager, who showed signs of severe swelling, revealed that she had not experienced a bowel movement for five days and was struggling to eat.
Her worried parents took her to the emergency department of Zhuji People’s Hospital in Zhejiang Province.
Xiao Shen’s doctor, Zhang Louzhen, ordered an urgent CT scan of his abdomen, and what he found left him completely speechless, according to the report.
The doctor discovered more than 100 small “granular shadows” spread throughout the adolescent’s digestive tract, from her stomach, through her intestines and to her anus.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.