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What happens if an adult swallowed quarter coin without any symptoms?

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What happens if an adult swallowed a U.S. quarter (coin)? The person does not know if she actually swallowed the quarter or not. It has been 5 days with no symptoms. She feels good and does NOT want to go to a doctor. How do we know if she will be okay?
Posted Wed, 4 Dec 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 16 minutes later
Brief Answer: Detailed below. Detailed Answer: Hello! Thank you for the query. Generally quarter coin is quite large. So it is hard to swallow it not noticing it. In case of swallowing it, it might get stuck in the area where large intestine meets small intestine or remain in the stomach for long time. It will give symptoms only if the coin will obstruct intestine. Waiting and not seeing a doctor is not a good idea as she might need urgent help if the coin will stuck. So please ask her to do not leave it without medical attention. Simple abdominal X-ray will tell if there is a coin or not. Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions. Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What happens if an adult swallowed quarter coin without any symptoms? 25 minutes later
Thank you Dr. Stanko. She will NOT go to a doctor. How would we know if the coin gets stuck in the area where the large intestine meets the small intestine (what would the symptoms be)? Also, what would happen if the coin gets stuck? What would the symptoms be if the coin obstructs the intestine? Is it possible that she passed the coin in her stool or could she pass the coin in her stool within say another week. How many weeks would it be for us to know is she is okay? The coin is a U.S. quarter and we do not know if she swallowed it or not. I already asked her to go to a doctor and she refused.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 6 minutes later
Brief Answer: Detailed below. Detailed Answer: If the coin has not stuck and goes freely with the stool, it should be excreted in 3 days. However if the coin is in the stomach, there can be no symptoms for weeks. If the coin will stuck she should have symptoms like: - bloated abdomen - nos stool, no gas - nausea, vomiting In case of bowels obstruction, urgent surgery is necessary, otherwise intestine can perforate what leads to sepsis and death (if not treated). If is possible that the coin has been already passed. So she may not be 100% sure as long as abdominal X-ray wont be done. Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What happens if an adult swallowed quarter coin without any symptoms? 50 minutes later
Thank you Dr. Stanko. How long could the coin remain in her stomach without any symptoms? And what are the symptoms of a coin in the stomach? Also, if the coin is in her stomach for weeks and she feels good, can we assume that she will be okay? When you refer to bowels obstruction, would the symptoms of bowels obstruction be those you mentioned in the pharse "if the coin stuck symptoms like:" in your previous answer. Since she will NOT go to a doctor, please tell me what I should do to watch her and verify that she is not having any problems. What actions should I take in the upcoming weeks to make sure that she is okay (she REFUSES to go to a doctor).
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 24 minutes later
Brief Answer: Detailed below. Detailed Answer: Cant tell how long the coin can remain in the stomach. There is a lot of space in the stomach and it is connected with the rest of digestive tract by narrow duodenum. This works like a kind of sieve where large parts stay in the stomach as long as they become small enough to go through the duodenum. As coin can not be digested and wont change its size, it can stay in the stomach very long time without ANY symptoms. But it is not a natural thing to have coin in the stomach. It can cause stomach inflammation or even perforation in rare cases. So you can not assume that she will be fine even if there is no symptoms at all. Yes, symptoms mentioned before are the symptoms of complete bowels obstruction. You can not do much for her if she wont go to the doctor. Just be aware of mentioned symptoms. So ask her if the stool is as it was before coin swallowing, and if the abdomen does not get bigger. Hope this will help. Regards.
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