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This Woman Had Tummy Pain And It Turns Out A Toothpick Was Lodged In Her Colon

Surgeons say HALF of swallowed toothpicks go unnoticed.

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A 70-year-old Melbourne woman with tummy pain went to hospital four times before being operated on in April by surgeons who found a nasty surprise.


Resected sigmoid colon with toothpick impacted in diverticulum.

Surgeons performing a dissection on the woman's gut found a toothpick lodged in a ballooned area of her colon called a sigmoid diverticulum, a report of the case found.

The woman had the diverticula — a pouch created by straining too hard when you're doing a poop — removed and made an "uncomplicated recovery and is now symptom-free," the surgeons wrote in the report.

The surgeons said almost half of swallowed toothpicks go unnoticed. A 2013 Medline literature search revealed a total of 137 case reports of toothpick ingestion.

The main risk factors for toothpick ingestion include meals containing toothpicks (duh!) and accompanied by alcoholic beverages, being male and/or having a habit of toothpick chewing.

Please just use dental floss.

You're never going to be as cool as Ryan Gosling in Drive.


Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at

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