Swallowed Nicotine Chewing Gum SOS: What Happens Inside Your Body?
Nicotine chewing gums have become a popular aid for those looking to quit smoking using an oral nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product. As part of one's quit-smoking plan, nicotine gums can make the process more manageable.
By delivering nicotine to the body, they effectively alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that arise when one stops smoking. Additionally, they help reduce the urge to smoke. However, what happens if you accidentally swallow a piece of nicotine gum?
In this post, we'll delve into the effects and processes that occur inside the body when you swallow nicotine chewing gum. We'll take you through its journey within your digestive system, discuss potential risks and concerns, and provide valuable tips on how to avoid accidental swallowing of nicotine chewing gum.
The Composition of Nicotine Chewing Gum
Nicotine gums are unlike regular chewing gums. These are used to help people stop consuming tobacco and are ideally used together with a tobacco cessation programme, which may include support groups, counselling, or specific behavioural change techniques. Nicotine gum falls in the class of medications called Nicotine Replacement Therapy aids.
The star of the show in any nicotine chewing gum is, of course, nicotine. But don't worry. The levels are carefully regulated to help you gradually stop tobacco consumption. You'll also find a gum base that gives the gum its chewiness and sweeteners like sorbitol or xylitol to make it more enjoyable. Other additives may include flavours and colourants to enhance the gum-chewing experience.
What Happens When You Swallow Nicotine Gum?
When you accidentally swallow nicotine gum, it takes a journey through your digestive system just like regular food. But here's the thing: nicotine gum is meant to be chewed, not swallowed. If you swallow it by mistake, some not-so-fun things can happen.
Once the gum reaches your stomach, the acidic environment breaks down the gum, releasing nicotine into the mix. The nicotine then gets absorbed through the stomach lining and enters your bloodstream. It's like a little explorer ready to travel throughout your body.
Some common side effects of accidentally swallowing nicotine gum include stomach aches, heartburn, or hiccups. Plus, the nicotine may not work as well when swallowed.
While the flavours and additives in the gum are digested, the human body cannot digest the gum base. But the good news is that the swallowed gum does not stay in the stomach or cause intestinal problems. Our bodies move any material that can't be digested through the digestive system and eliminate them during a bowel movement (yes, poop!).
However, it's important to note that deliberately swallowing gum is not a good idea. In very rare cases, when a large mass of gum or many small pieces of gum are swallowed over a short period, the digestive tract can get blocked. In such cases, it's best to consult a doctor. They can provide the appropriate guidance and medical intervention at the right time to ensure your well-being.
The Correct Usage of a Nicotine Gum
Using nicotine gum correctly is crucial to minimise the risk of accidental ingestion. It's important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and your healthcare professional. By chewing it properly, you allow the nicotine to be absorbed through the mouth and into the bloodstream, increasing its effectiveness as a smoking cessation aid. Avoid the temptation to swallow the gum, which can lead to unwanted side effects and diminish its efficacy.
It is essential to know how to chew nicotine gum correctly. Follow these steps:
- Bite down slowly on the gum until you feel a tingling sensation in your mouth
- Place it between the cheek and gums
- Hold it in place for about two to three minutes to allow nicotine absorption
- Repeat the process of chewing and parking the gum until the tingling subsides.
- Occasionally change the location in your mouth where you 'park' the gum
Preventing Accidental Ingestion of Nicotine Gums
When it comes to storing nicotine gum, safety should be a top priority, especially if you have kids, individuals who may accidentally ingest it or pets. Keep the gum in its original packaging and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Be mindful of where you place the gum, ensuring it's out of reach and sight of children or anyone who may not understand its intended use.
Using nicotine gum as directed and implementing proper storage practices can minimise the risk of accidental ingestion and ensure the gum remains accessible only to those who need it for smoking cessation. Remember, taking these precautions is integral to maintaining a safe and effective approach to using nicotine gum.
Accidentally swallowing nicotine chewing gum can raise concerns, but understanding the processes that occur inside your body can help alleviate some worries. While swallowing nicotine gum is not ideal, staying informed about the potential risks and taking necessary precautions is important. If you have concerns or experience severe symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice promptly. Remember, it's always better to chew your nicotine gum as directed, and if you accidentally swallow it once in a while, don't panic—your body will take care of it in its own way!