What happens if you swallow a 50p coin?

In this brief study, we will answer the question, “what happens if you swallow a 50p coin?” and will also share a real-life case study.

What happens if you swallow a 50p coin?

If you swallow a 50p coin, the high zinc concentration presents a significant health risk due to the high zinc content. While it is rare that a single penny may get stuck in the stomach, if it does, it may turn poisonous very fast. Pediatricians and radiologists should be aware of the potential of coin ingestion while evaluating a kid who has swallowed a coin during an examination.

When an excessive amount of zinc enters the body, it may result in a variety of health issues ranging from stomach ulcers to kidney, liver, and bone marrow damage, among others. While a single penny is unlikely to do any damage, it has been shown to cause ulcers in certain people. 

Real Life case study

A guy accidentally swallowed a 50p and a 20p coin when his buddies threw them in his drink as a joke, and he was sent to the hospital.

Upon further investigation, doctors discovered that the 50p piece, which is about 1inch (2.5cm) broad, had been lodged in his stomach for at least 10 weeks. After complaining of stomach pains for two and a half weeks, the guy went to the A&E department at County Hospital Hereford for treatment.

He informed his physicians of the incident and said that he regurgitated the twenty-pound coin shortly after eating it, according to the report. According to the case report, the guy became concerned since he had not yet seen the 50p exiting his body via his feces as described.

Medical tests showed that the penny had remained in his body for some time. Doctors advised him to continue eating regularly and return the next week if it was not discovered that the penny was hidden in his stool.

He returned a week and a half later, informing doctors that, although he couldn’t locate the penny in his feces, all of his symptoms had vanished and that he was no longer experiencing them. The second round of scans was carried out by Yih Chyn Phan and his team of doctors, which revealed that the 50p coin had remained lodged in his stomach.

They found, however, that the penny had entered his gastrointestinal mucosa, which is the exact name for the stomach lining that produces acid to break down food and digest it. These words were written in the doctors’ journal: ‘Coins are extremely tiny and have smooth edges.  

Most of the time, they pass through the pylorus and are expelled with the feces. Ten weeks after ingesting the coins, the patient went to the clinic for a check-up.

He decided to just ‘watch and wait’ for the 50p piece to organically exit his body. The length of time it took for the infection to clean up was not disclosed by the doctors. The hazards of surgery outweighed the dangers of leaving the coin within his body, according to the surgeons who made the decision.

The symptoms of a foreign body in the airway

When a foreign body is consumed, medical care should be sought immediately. Foreign body ingestion in a kid is associated with the following symptoms, which are the most frequent ones. Among the signs and symptoms that may be present are the following ones:

The sensation of choking or gagging while consuming food for the first time

  • Choking 
  • Coughing       
  • Stridor
  • A whistling sound while breathing

While the above-mentioned first symptoms may disappear, the foreign body may remain stuck in the airway for an extended time. These signs and symptoms may suggest that the foreign body is still obstructing your airway:

  • A high-pitched sound while breathes
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Bronchitis 
  • Variations in the tone of voice

Treatment of foreign bodies

The treatment for a foreign body differs based on where it has been discovered. If the object becomes lodged in the airway, it will need to be removed via the use of laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy procedures. The technique consists of inserting a hard scope into the airway, examining it to determine the nature of the object, and then removing it using special forceps. The item is removed from the esophagus using an esophagoscopy (esophagoscopy), and specialized instruments are used to remove the object that has gotten lodged in the esophagus. Once the foreign body has been removed, you should be able to return to your normal activities soon.


In this brief study, we answered the question, “what happens if you swallow a 50p coin?” and also shared a real-life case study.



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