A teenage girl has reportedly had more than 100 tapioca balls trapped in her body after drinking too much of a popular Asian beverage known as ‘bubble tea’.
The 14-year-old was taken to the hospital by her parents in eastern China after suffering from constipation for five days, reported a local newspaper.
Doctors said the patient, known by a pseudonym Xiao Shen, had failed to digest the tapioca balls which came with the tea.
Xiao Shen is said to be a big fan of ‘bubble tea’, a beverage popular in East Asia which normally contains tea, milk and dozens of tapioca balls.
These small balls, also known as ‘pearls’ or ‘boba’, are made of tapioca starch which is extracted from the dried roots of the cassava plant native to South America. They usually taste bland and have a chewy texture.
A cup of bubble tea typically sells for 10 yuan (£1) in mainland China.
According to local Shaoxing News, Xiao Shen’s parents took her to the People’s Hospital in the city of Zhuji on May 28 after she complained about stomachache.
Her parents said Xiao Shen had been having constipation and bad appetite.
Dr. Zhang Louwei, who received the patient, said the girl’s abdomen was ‘bulging’.
After an X-ray checkup, Dr Zhang was shocked to see more than 100 dark balls stuck in Xiao Shen’s body. They were said to fill the teenager’s stomach, intestines and rectum.
After further questioning, Xiao Shen admitted she had drank bubble tea five days earlier.
Dr. Zhang suspected the tapioca balls inside Xiao Shen had been accumulating over a long period of time, and were not the result of a single incident.
He prescribed a laxative to help Xiao Shen pass the balls.
Dr. Zhang warned the public not to drink too much bubble tea.
The medic said tapioca starch could be hard to digest. He said that bubble tea shops might add food addictive and artificial preservatives to the tapioca balls to ‘improve the texture’.
Originated from Taiwan, bubble tea has become more and more popular in Western cities with a big Asian population, such as New York and London.