Doctors in China are spilling the tea about how one of their patients got more than 100 bubble tea balls stuck inside of her bowels. Hang on to your saucers, folks, because you’re about to learn some disheartening facts about one of the world’s most eccentric yet delightful drinks, which is usually made with tea, milk, and boba balls of tapioca.
The trouble started last month, when a 14-year-old girl from the Zhejiang province of China told her parents her stomach hurt, Asia One reports. After five days of internal issues, her parents took her to the hospital on May 28. Doctors ordered a CT scan, which showed that more than 100 little spheres were rolling around in her abdomen. The doctors quizzed the girl on what she’d eaten, and she told them she’d had one cup of bubble tea five days before the incident. One. Doctor Zhang Louzhen was skeptical of this. You’d have to have a pretty big cup to swallow more than 100 boba balls. He told Asia One he believed she was hiding the truth about her boba consumption from her parents because she was worried she’d be punished. He said you’d have to down tons of bubble tea over an extended period of time to find yourself with such a severe case of constipation. Regardless of how much the girl truly consumed, doctors prescribed laxatives to help her digest the boba balls.
Another doctor wanted to raise awareness about the fact that boba pearls are tricky for the body to digest, Metro News reported. They’re usually made of starch, although some bubble tea shops will add thickeners and preservatives that can lead to even more gastro-intestinal issues. Shockingly, this isn’t the first time the words “bubble tea” and “CT scan” have been associated in the media. Back in 2015, unsubstantiated rumors went around that some bubble tea pearls were made of tires and old shoes, Vice reported.
But even old-fashioned tapioca boba pearls can be tricky for the body to digest. Turns out, bubble tea is a drink best served cold, in moderation, and chased with a laxative.