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Old 09 December 2010, 07:14 PM
Thrifty Thrifty is offline
 
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Icon81 Can you eat so much that your stomach bursts?

This is something I have wondered about for a while. Is it possible to eat so excessively that your stomach ruptures, like in the movie Seven? I would assume so, because it's got finite space. Yet in my experience the body will reflexively work to stop it.

This past Thanksgiving, I overestimated my gastronomic capacity and ate too much. Recent weight loss has led me to the point where I just can't pack it in the way I used to. I was very uncomfortable at the table by the time I stopped shoving food down my gullet. I woke up around 2 AM that night with terrible indigestion, which did not get any better until I had a rather voluminous vomit. I'm thinking that this was my body's way of saying "buddy, you've given us more than you can handle, we gotta send some back up the way it came".

But suppose I had not left the table when I grew uncomfortable. Would it have been possible to eat so much that I would cause my stomach to split open like an overfilled balloon? Could this be done voluntarily? Or if it were possible, would it have to happen through massive force feeding like in Seven?
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  #2  
Old 09 December 2010, 07:23 PM
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I would think that you'd vomit before that happens.
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  #3  
Old 09 December 2010, 07:29 PM
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...like in the movie Seven?...
I was thinking more like the movie The Meaning of Life.
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  #4  
Old 09 December 2010, 08:18 PM
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You'd throw up first. Beyond that, the force of gravity isn't enough to pack something like a stomach that tightly--in other words, if for some theoretical reason you didn't throw up, you simply wouldn't be able to swallow any more, because the food would stop moving down your throat.
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Old 10 December 2010, 05:35 AM
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I was thinking more like the movie The Meaning of Life.
Yes. And it was just a little thin mint that was enough to put him over the edge that he burst.
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Old 10 December 2010, 05:41 AM
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Yes. And it was just a little thin mint that was enough to put him over the edge that he burst.
Nah, you're thinking of Event Horizon. Monty Python is the one with the parrot.
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Old 10 December 2010, 08:27 AM
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HighSierra Sherey HighSierra Sherey is offline
 
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Moose

and the moose
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  #8  
Old 10 December 2010, 01:02 PM
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I suppose it would be possible - of course you would probably have to be dead first and all the paths where your body could remove the stuff (via vomiting) are blocked somehow. Your stomach is an amazingly expansive organ and it would have to expand faster than it could deal with it. Of course you wouldn't explode, your stomach would just rupture. It has happened before, but I don't think it was from eating - probably more like expansive gas would be more likely (one that would react with the acids in your stomach).

Mythbusters made a pigs stomach (very similar to a human's stomach) rupture on the Pop Rocks and soda myth by closing off all of the tubes and pouring (rather forcing) a bunch of sodium bicarb (or something like that). No explosion, just a tear.
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Old 10 December 2010, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
You'd throw up first. Beyond that, the force of gravity isn't enough to pack something like a stomach that tightly--in other words, if for some theoretical reason you didn't throw up, you simply wouldn't be able to swallow any more, because the food would stop moving down your throat.
Of course, why didn't I think of that? That sounds a lot like the time I tried to fill a balloon up with milk. The milk coming out of the jug and through the funnel which I had attached the balloon to simply didn't exert enough pressure to expand and fill the balloon.
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Old 10 December 2010, 01:49 PM
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and the moose
a moose once bit my sister
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  #11  
Old 10 December 2010, 02:06 PM
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Stiff by Mary Roach mentions a couple of examples: notably a young woman who ate 19 lb. of food and died from a ruptured stomach; it's in the April 1985 Lancet, for anyone with access. Possibly such excess would be eating-disorder related and therefore perhaps facilitated by a lessened vomiting reflex.
This was a larger amount than the limit of 4000 cc's reached in experiments with cadavers.
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  #12  
Old 10 December 2010, 02:18 PM
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Stiff was an awesome book!!
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  #13  
Old 10 December 2010, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrifty View Post
Or if it were possible, would it have to happen through massive force feeding like in Seven?
The obesity murder victim did not eat until he burst, at least not directly. He was kicked.



Wolf "I've Se7en about 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it" 333
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  #14  
Old 13 December 2010, 08:25 AM
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I once knew a specialist in the physiological effects on eating disorders, especially malfunctions in the swallowing. I asked her about it, and she said that the swallowing mechanism simply does not have enough force to achieve that. Possibly, if you ate something that expanded in the stomach and hardened while it did so, preventing vomiting, but I can't really figure out what would do that among ordinary food. Sure, if you want to eat industrial foam sealant, but then we are leaving the ordinary food.
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Old 14 December 2010, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
Stiff by Mary Roach mentions a couple of examples: notably a young woman who ate 19 lb. of food and died from a ruptured stomach; it's in the April 1985 Lancet, for anyone with access. Possibly such excess would be eating-disorder related and therefore perhaps facilitated by a lessened vomiting reflex.
This was a larger amount than the limit of 4000 cc's reached in experiments with cadavers.

Ah OK--I saw something related on A Thousand Ways to Die, and just figured it was the show's producers playing fast and loose with the truth.
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  #16  
Old 15 December 2010, 02:22 AM
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An entirely reasonable assumption, given that they've used blatantly impossible deaths in that show.

Another thing with the potential rupturing issue- it's rare, but sometimes a person could have a weakened stomach wall, though I'd say that the chances of someone dieing because they had a weakened stomach wall that ruptured due to overeating are on roughly the same order of probability as being struck by lightning while standing in front of the White House, but it's still there.
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  #17  
Old 03 January 2011, 12:20 AM
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No reference to Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk? For shame!*


*just one of the creepy aspects of that book that will haunt (ha!) me for life!
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  #18  
Old 03 January 2011, 03:29 AM
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I once watched a French film called La Grande Bouffe, about a group of food lovers who meet for the express purpose of eating themselves to death (and do so). I can't recall the exact causes in the film; perhaps stomach rupture.

It was the worst choice for dinner theater ever. I'm not sure what the restaurant was thinking with that one.
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  #19  
Old 03 January 2011, 01:05 PM
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I don't think it was made clear in the film; they were eating over several days rather than one huge sustained last meal.
(Dinner theatre, though? Aieeee.)
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  #20  
Old 03 January 2011, 11:47 PM
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I've seen stomach rupturing listed as a possible effect of bulimia on various medical websites. They don't list sources for that info though so I don't know if it is accurate.
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