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.
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.