Symptoms and Signs of Swallowed Object

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Swallowed Object

Swallowed objects most often occur due to accidents but may in some cases be intentional. Young children, infants, and toddlers are most commonly affected, although swallowing a foreign object can happen to anyone. A swallowed foreign object is most likely to become trapped in the food tube (esophagus). Infants and toddlers are drawn to put objects into their mouths by natural curiosity, and they may also have trouble chewing certain kinds of foods, both of which put them at increased risk for swallowing a foreign object.

Most swallowed objects do not cause specific signs and symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, these can include pain or bleeding in the back of the throat, choking (if the object enters the airways and is not technically swallowed) or vomiting. Other associated symptoms can include drooling and painful swallowing.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.