More than 100 tapioca balls found in Chinese teen's belly after drinking too much bubble tea

Girl drinking bubble tea
Doctors have warned against excessive consumption of the drink. Photo credit: Getty.

A teenage girl from the Zhejiang province has had more than 100 tapioca balls discovered in her stomach, reportedly the result of a serious love of bubble tea.

According to this Chinese media report, quoted by Asia One, the 14-year-old complained to her parents of being unwell for several weeks, before her parents finally took her to the doctor after five days of constipation.

Unable to pinpoint the cause of the sickness, doctors eventually performed a CT scan which revealed more than 100 tiny spherical shadows - each one a bubble tea ball the girl had been unable to digest.

Bubble tea, a popular drink in East Asia, typically contains tea, milk, and dozens of chewable 'pearls' made of tapioca starch. Doctors reported the girl had been unable to digest the balls, leading to a blockage in her system.

Dr Zhang Louwei, who treated the patient at Zhuji People’s Hospital, told local media the girl's abdomen was "bulging" when she arrived in hospital. The tapioca balls reportedly filled the teenager's stomach, intestines and rectum.

While Dr Zhang says you would have to drink a serious amount of bubble tea over a long period of time to accumulate so much of a blockage, he still issued a warning over the dangers of overdoing the popular drink.

He said that bubble tea shops might add food additives and artificial preservatives to the tapioca balls to "improve the texture", making them tough to digest.

The girl was reportedly issued medical-grade laxatives to pass the pearls.

Bubble tea is also a popular beverage in New Zealand, with spots like Gong Cha, V&V and Hulu Cat selling the tapioca filled drinks to Kiwis around the country. Lovers of the drink might want to exercise moderation while sipping.