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A Teenage Girl was Hospitalized for Having Boba Tea Balls Clogging Her Stomach and Now We’re Worried!

Boba shops are now opening all over USA and are no longer restricted to the Taiwanese enclaves they were once set up over the last 15 years. It is possible that you know about bubble tea. But if you are unaware about it, this is a refreshing drink you must try, if you haven’t already. Bubble tea generally contains some tea leaves, sugar, flavoring, and tapioca balls, the main ingredient, known as boba (the small bubbles) in ‘bubble tea.’ These tapioca balls are the smooth, chewy, round things that sink to the bottom of your cup. Once you have tasted bubble tea, you probably want to have it every time. Boba culture made it to America through the Taiwanese diaspora and took root around college and university campuses and even high schools, where young students would meet up for group study.

Creator: Sean Gallup | Credit: Getty Images | Copyright: 2012 Getty Images

Most of the boba shops now are open late at night and offer affordable snacks and drinks, making them the perfect stop for late-night snacks and crunch-time studying. The tea base can be green or black tea and is customized with syrups like strawberry, peach, and lychee. Milk is added to these teas, transforming them to milk teas, and makes for a creamier drink. A classic boba milk tea is made with milk, black tea and of course, boba. Half the fun of going out for a boba, which is a beverage and a snack combo, is in customizing it to your esoteric tastes. All boba shops enable you to adjust the sweet content of your drink, change the ice volumes, with hot and cold options.

A Timely Warning

The warning is that a girl’s bubble tea habit landed her in hospital with around 100 of these undigested balls inside her stomach. The doctor reportedly made the connection when her parents brought her in to the hospital after complaining that she had severe stomach pains and constipation prior to her arrival at the hospital. According to reports, the attending doctor noticed that her stomach was showing signs of bloating and this was a cause for considerable concern. As the doctor at Zhuji’s Peoples Hospital in the Zhejiang Province of China found it difficult to properly diagnose her, he requested for a CT scan. When the test results were examined, the scans revealed that her digestive track had loads of ‘granular shadows’. The doctor enquired if the teenager had ingested anything recently that could have caused those abnormal shadows. The teen immediately responded that she had some bubble tea, days before the hospital visit. However, the doctor thinks it was a lot more than just one drink.

The Remedy

Creator: Swanya Charoonwatana | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The family was advised that because the teenager frequently drank bubble tea, that has led to a massive buildup of boba balls inside her stomach. Also, the girl had ingested the boba whole, without chewing it, which is a choking hazard and not good for your digestion. Luckily, the treatment was rather minor with the doctor prescribing her a laxative to flush out the tiny balls.

This does not mean that we have to stop drinking bubble tea ASAP. Chances are that you do not ingest enough to land up in some hospital like this unfortunate girl. But if you have a serious addiction, this story should be a caution.

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