A teenage girl had more than 100 tiny “bubble tea” balls trapped in her stomach after downing too many cups of her favourite drink.
The 14-year-old was dashed to hospital after suffering constipation and a bad appetite for five days.
Scans found the patient, known by a pseudonym Xiao Shen, had failed to digest the tiny dark balls, which help form the “bubble tea”.
And Dr Zhang Louwei, who treated the patient, said her abdomen was “bulging”.
Her stomach, intestines and rectum had been saturated with the tapioca balls.
The beverage, popular in East Asia, normally contains tea, milk and dozens of the small balls, known as “pearls” or “boba”.
They are extracted from the dried roots of the cassava plant native to South America, and usually taste bland and have a chewy texture.
A cup of bubble tea typically sells for 10 yuan (£1) in mainland China.
The doctor in this case 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.
But in fact, she drank a large quantity of it five days before she was admitted to hospital on May 28.
He prescribed a laxative to help Xiao Shen pass the balls.
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.