Doctors find over 100 bubble tea pearls inside teenage girl's digestive tract

A teenage girl obsessed with bubble tea — a Taiwanese concoction that consists of milk, tea and tapioca pearls — paid the price when she had too much of the drink and ended up in a hospital, Shaoxing News reports.

According to a translation of the news story by, a 14-year-old girl, identified only by the pseudonym Xiao Shen, went to a hospital in the Chinese province of Zhejiang on May 28 after she complained of stomach pain. The teenager told doctors that she had not experienced bowel movement for five days and that she had trouble eating.

In response, the teenager's physician Zhang Louzhen requested CT scans of the girl's abdomen, which revealed over 100 "granular shadows" dotted throughout the girl's digestive tract. He also noticed that the 14-year-old had a "bulging" stomach.

Zhang reportedly asked the girl what she had eaten recently, at which point the teenager told him that she had drunk bubble tea five days earlier. The doctor then determined that the "shadows" were, in fact, masses of tapioca pearls commonly found in the popular Asian drink.

Xiao Shen was purportedly given a laxative, which allowed her to pass the pearls.

Since its creation in the 1980s, bubble tea has become increasingly popular not only in East Asia but in other regions as well. The recipe for tapioca pearls, which give bubble tea its unique taste, is a closely guarded secret among Taiwanese manufacturers but generally consists of tapioca starch, brown sugar syrup, water, potassium sorbate and guar gum.