What Happens When Glass Is Swallowed?

When glass is swallowed, it can cause complications, as the sharp edges can tear the tissues, particularly those in the esophagus, and can end up causing an infection according to Drugs.com. Glass pieces can also get lodged into various areas of the gastrointestinal tract, such as positions at the level of the collarbone, at the center of the chest and just where the esophagus leads into the stomach. To prevent further damage, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and have the glass pieces removed immediately, especially if they are stuck.

There are several symptoms that are commonly associated with swallowing glass. They include vomiting, drooling, chest pains, neck pains and an inability to swallow. If the glass pieces are trapped in the intestines and have caused tissue damage or tears, then patients can also expect abdominal pain, dark stools that contain blood and even abnormal sounds coming from the bowels.

Depending on the size of the glass piece, the severity of the damage that it has caused and where it is positioned, medical professionals may recommend using an esophagoscope or a balloon catheter to remove the piece. Some medical professionals may also recommend waiting 24 hours to see whether the glass piece has passed through the body.