Nails, screws
Doctors at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) removed a total of 152 metal objects, including more than 100 nails from the woman's abdomen.(Representational image) David Bleasdale/Flickr

A 35-year-old woman from Chennai has astonished doctors for living many years with several dangerous metal objects inside her stomach.

Doctors at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in Chennai removed a total of 152 metal objects, weighing 478 grams from the woman's abdomen. These included nails- both small (96) and large (23) in size, coins, chains, screws, hair pins, broken bangles, a key, a button battery, a coat button and a magnet, The Hindu reported.

The woman from Vyasarpadi, was malnourished, anaemic and was undergoing treatment for mental illness, when she sought medical help in last December. She was also experiencing breathlessness and bloated stomach. Doctors were shocked to discover that the woman had been swallowing sharp metal objects from the past few years.

"An X-ray of her abdomen showed iron nails and other foreign objects in it. Since the objects seemed sharp we could not bring them out with the help of endoscope as it would cause perforations. Hence, we decided to go for a surgery," surgical gastroenterologist Dr S M Chandramohan, told Times of India.

Doctors had to wait one more month before the surgery as the metal swallowing habit had caused severe blood loss in the woman. She underwent surgery in February and it took more than 90 minutes for the doctors to remove all the objects stuck in her upper intestine.

"With the nodules in her stomach, we had to first rule it out as cancerous. Also, when we opened her stomach during the surgery, it looked like a huge tumour. Luckily, the objects did not injure her food pipe and did not block her stomach. So she did not have symptoms such vomiting, pain in the abdomen or fever," Dr Chandramohan said, according to The New Indian Express.

The woman, who is now completely recovered, couldn't remember anything about her strange habit.

Though small children often swallow magnets and button batteries, intentional ingestion of objects among adults is also not very rare. In 2010, a study reported in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, highlighted 33 such cases that included pens, batteries, knives and razor blades.

In another case reported in 2012, a man named Michael DeStefan, from New Jersey nearly lost his life when he accidentally swallowed an aluminium grill cleaner bristle along with his steak.