Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Foreign Bodies


Foreign body removal is the retrieval of foreign objects introduced to the body. Foreign objects can be trapped in the body, causing complications or health problems.

It is possible for foreign objects to get lodged in various parts of the body, such as the eyes, ears, nose, and airways.

What Causes Foreign Objects into the Body?

Foreign objects can get to your body in various ways. Small objects can be swallowed or inserted into most parts of the body either knowingly or unknowingly. Due to natural curiosity, children are more likely to swallow or insert objects in their ears or nose. Objects that frequently become stuck in the nose or ears include:

  • Buttons
  • Seeds
  • Insects
  • Pencil erasers
  • Crayon tips

Below are ways in which foreign objects can enter the body:

  • Swallowing
  • Through the nose when trying to smell items.
  • Pica. This is an object swallowing disorder common in children and pregnant women. This temporary disorder causes you to eat non-food items with no nutritional value. Ingesting toxic substances such as metal or detergents could be dangerous to your health.
  • Due to a desire for sexual stimulation, foreign objects can be inserted and become lodged in the rectum.

Symptoms of Foreign Objects in the Body

Symptoms of foreign objects depend on the location of the foreign item in the body. Objects in the nose and ears can make it hard to breathe or hear and can cause an infection to occur. Small foreign objects ingested in small quantities may pass the digestive system without causing health problems. However, large sharp objects may get stuck in the digestive tract, such as the:

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small and large intestines
  • Rectum

The following symptoms may be experienced if foreign objects are ingested:

  • Pain in the neck, throat, or chest if the object was sharp
  • A sensation of a lump in the neck or throat if the item was sharp
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bloodstained saliva
  • Gagging and vomiting
  • Wheezing and coughing

If a foreign body object enters your body, blocking the airway, seek emergency care in Temple, Texas, or visit an emergency room near you immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Cough that gets worse
  • Hoarse voice
  • Blueness around the lips
  • Difficulty in breathing

Treatment of Foreign Objects in the Body

Treatment of foreign objects mainly involves the removal of the items in the body. The method of removal depends on the location of the foreign object. Foreign objects can be removed at home, while some need medical attention for removal. Before treatment, your doctor may choose to perform a physical examination first, such as:

  • Checking your breathing function
  • Checking your voice and speech function
  • Checking your physical appearance
  • Undertaking signs tests such as blood pressure, temperature, and pulse
  • Pulse oximetry, a test that monitors oxygen levels in the blood

Below are methods used to remove foreign objects:

  • A suction machine may be used to pull out objects in the nose or ears
  • An endoscope may be used to remove foreign objects from the rectum or stomach
  • A bronchoscope may be used in situations where an object is lodged in the airway
  • Magnets may be used to remove metal objects
  • Flushing of the ear canal with water

At times, x-rays may be recommended to give detailed images of the object’s exact location in the body. Surgery may be necessary if the foreign object removal methods do not work.

Are you in Texas trying to get urgent care near you? Visit Express emergency room in Temple. Our emergency room in 76504 will offer you professional and special treatment if you suspect to have ingested foreign objects.

How to Prevent Foreign Object Ingestion?

Regardless of age, foreign object ingestion can occur to anyone. Ingesting foreign objects can have severe consequences as it may result in severe chronic problems. Below are ways to prevent ingestion of foreign objects:

  • Keeping small objects such as marble, buttons, and coins away from children
  • Adopting home safety procedures such as lockable drawers and safety latch cupboard
  • Teach children to avoid placing foreign objects in their ears, nose, or mouth
  • Read warning labels on toys
  • Avoid exercising or running while eating
  • Avoid feeding high-risk foods such as nuts, seeds, and sweets to children under the age of three.
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