Oral Sex caused Woman’s Abdominal Cavity to Inflate like a Balloon

A brief explainer of how the air makes its way into the abdominal cavity. Image credit: Christoph Mundhenke (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Case of non-surgical pneumoperitoneum

It has been proven time and time again that sex education is extremely important. It has positive effects that include increasing young people’s knowledge of reproductive health. For instance, the concept of how the vagina is linked to the stomach can only be explained via detailed sex education. While not knowing this isn’t something that’ll affect your life in any way. You must know if you’re regularly indulging in oral sex. In a similar such case, lack of knowledge led a 24-year-old’s stomach inflating like a balloon because of oral sex and caused pneumoperitoneum.

She presented to the emergency department of Stanford University, California with a 6-hours history of severe abdominal and chest pain. The pain moved from her lower right quadrant to the bottom right of her belly, moved upwards and spread. The pain aggravated as she moved. She experienced no other symptoms.

This wasn’t the first time she was experiencing this pain.

She experienced the pain 6 and 12 months before this particular visit, also and several times before. For further examination, doctors advised an X-ray which showed that there was air in the abdominal cavity. The same finding was discovered on her previous visits to the ER.

This condition is referred to as pneumoperitoneum and can be caused because of perforated ulcers and bowel cancer. The air gets trapped in a blood vessel and blocks it which can even lead to death. Therefore, it should be investigated immediately. Despite extensive testing, there was no cause found for her inflation. However, when the doctors took a complete sexual history of the patient, the cause of the inflation was found to be her partner inflating her like a balloon.

“The patient revealed that she had intercourse, during which her partner forcefully blew air into her vagina prior to all episodes of pneumoperitoneum,” the team explained.

She also remembered that the pain started “four hours after each occasion.”

Oral sex is a common sexual practice all over the world. During this sexual activity, gas can easily be blown into the vagina by the mouth or other mechanisms. The gas then finds its way to the uterus and consequently into the abdomen. Thus, resulting in pneumoperitoneum.

Doctors monitored the patient for the next few days and asked her to avoid oro-vaginal insufflation.


Sexual Activity as Cause for Non-Surgical Pneumoperitoneum https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12275842_Sexual_Activity_as_Cause_for_Non-Surgical_Pneumoperitoneum

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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