Exploding Bellies

Is it true that swallowing dry Alka-Seltzer or sodium bicarbonate can cause damage to your stomach?

I’ve heard this all my life (and about exploding sea gulls), but recently read something debunking it. Well, I happened to look on the side of my box of baking soda and what do I see under the heading Antacid Use? It says “STOMACH WARNING: TO AVOID SERIOUS INJURY, DO NOT TAKE UNTIL POWDER IS COMPLETELY DISSOLVED. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO TAKE THIS PRODUCT WHEN OVERLY FULL FROM FOOD OR DRINK. Consult a doctor if severe stomach pain occurs after taking this product.”

So apparently you CAN get hurt by taking a sodium bicarbonate mixture, especially if you’re suffering from overeating. Anyone ever heard of this happening?


If I recall correctly, it has happened that a man accidently ruptured his stomach after taking bicarbonate one an extremely full stomach. This is something that would not happen to someone who was merely stuffed, we are talking he ate the whole d*mn thing sort of thing. The stomach didn’t explode, the guy did not end up like Mr. Creosote, but the stomach (Or intestinal) wall was compromized, because the stomach couldn’t stretch any further, and already had a large amount of gas present. I will attempt to find a cite…Note that birds don’t explode eating rice or alka-seltzer either.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Lol. Who or what is “Mr. Creosote”?

Apparently, Nickrz, you are suffering from a Monty Python deficiency. Mr. Creosote ate a large meal, or, to be more precise, a really huge incredibly gutbusting gluttonous feast. He was offered an after dinner mint, which he refused.

He was persuaded to change his mind and disgustingly exploded.

Aww man, there goes my weekend plans.

Damn, that one got by me! As many of those as I’ve watched, I never saw or heard of that Creosote dood. :frowning:

It’s from one of their movies, Nick! (Their last, “The Meaning of Life”. Rent it if just for the “Sperm Song”.)

Okay, laugh it up, all of you, but when its YOUR belly button hanging off the ceiling fan, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

But seriously, this is kinda strange - this warning is posted in all-caps red letters on the side of the baking soda box. Is this a real hazard or just one of those ‘this might happen once every three billion years so we better put a warning on the box to avoid liability’ type things? I mean, it SOUNDS as if eating a spoonful of baking soda could hurt you, but there is no ‘Keep out of the Reach of Children’ statement anywhere on the box, and I can just see somebody’s kid trying it and rupturing their stomach or something. (Or, more likely, trying it on little brother to see if HE blows up.)

Is there a doctor in the house?


coosa, as I said before, my understanding is that it has happened before, that someone ate an extremely large meal, took some sodium bicarbonate and subseqently ruptured either his stomach or intestine. Not instantly fatal, but parontinisis(sp?) is very painfull and will kill if not treated.
But as I said as well, you have to have eaten a very large meal, such that your stomach is already distended to its utmost before it would cause the problem mentioned.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Nick - did you mean peritonitis?

I can’t believe you’ve missed - “Just one little itsy-bitsy mint” :o

Apparently it can happen and it has been documented.


Oh what a relief it is.

Hey, thanks! Great cite/site. Covers the (drumroll)Whole Nine Yards!

Think I’ll stick with Alka-Seltzer.


zyada, Not nick, Narile, and yes I meant peritonitis if that is when material escapes from the intestine and causes an infection in the gut.

Alphagene, Interesting, I’d looked for that page on urbanlegends, and never found it. Thanks!

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

OK, I’m not saying that the Alka-Seltzer/seagull UL actually isn’t a UL, but I’ve happened across a number of seagulls lying on the beach, very much alive, but with what are obviously their guts dragging behind them. There’s little evidence of blood, though - neither on their feathers, on their insides, or on the sand immediately around them.
They’re not moving, their breathing is labored, and they don’t make much of an effort (if any) to get away when you approach them.

So what’s making their guts explode outward?

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

zyada:“Just one little itsy-bitsy mint”
“It’s wafer-thin!”

If anyone here uses/plays GURPS, and has the magic items sourcebook, one of the magic items in the illegal magic section, is the assasins mint. :slight_smile: Not as cute as the halitosis mug, but is still a nasty one.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

There are great gaping holes in my formal education! SO?! I used to know all the words to the Lumberjack song and did a pretty good SPAM routine. Does that count? :slight_smile:

Really? Because I have seen several birds dead around church sites where rice was thrown several days before…could there have been something in the rice that made them die? Also, why was the rumour created that they could, and why does the majority now throw birdseed?

tipi :slight_smile:

Sorry, Narile, I don’t know what I was thinking.

Eating a box of baking soda is more likely to kill you from metabolic alkalosis. The stuff is a base and it’ll throw your pH balance out of whack.