On more than one occasion over the years, we have all literally felt sick to our stomachs, lowering our heads, cradling ourselves. These bouts of pain are usually a signal something is amiss in our digestive system, such as foreign body ingestion. Whether we swallow objects willingly, most of us can’t contain these objects in our stomachs for long periods of time — or so we think.

Although it is difficult to estimate, there are more than 100,000 cases of foreign body ingestion each year in the U.S., with 80 percent occurring in children. This is most commonly a problem in young children aged 6 months to 5 years, but it can affect children of all ages and adults. According to Medscape, the majority of ingested foreign bodies will pass safely through the gut and be passed with feces, but some will cause damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and/or become lodged.

Patients who swallow foreign bodies are usually asymptomatic, but symptoms can occur leading to life-threatening obstruction of the upper GI and respiratory tracts. Ingested items like pennies or lead material may cause toxicity, while others may cause damage to the intestinal tract because of compression or obstruction. Defying the human body, here is a mix of unusual cases of foreign bodies’ ingestion — from a 25-year-old pen to a snake — that will make your stomach turn.

1. 78 Cutlery Items

A 52-year-old woman complaining of stomach pains had to go under the knife after doctors found she swallowed an entire kitchen. Margaret Daalman of the Netherlands left doctors flabbergasted when X-rays showed 78 different cutlery items in her stomach.

"I don't know why but I felt an urge to eat the silverware — I could not help myself,” Daalman told doctors, The Telegraph reported.

Medics diagnosed her as suffering from borderline personality disorder that left her with an urge to eat cutlery. Every time she sat down for a meal, Daalman would ignore the food and eat the cutlery. It was confirmed that she had only ever eaten forks and spoons, never knives, but they were unable to explain why. The woman made a full recovery and responded well to her treatment for the unusual obsession.

2. 40-Year-Old Fetus

An 82-year-old woman in Colombia with severe stomach cramping was surprised to learn her severe stomach pains were due to a 40-year-old fetus inside her stomach. The “stone baby” is suspected to be a result of an ectopic pregnancy where the fetus is conceived in the abdomen, outside of the uterus, Medical Daily previously reported. When a fetus in the abdomen dies, the body of the mother works to calcify — or mummify it in calcium — to protect the rest of her body from infection. The stone babies are left in the body of the mother for years and rarely cause any complications. Doctors successfully removed the stone baby through surgery.

3. 37 Magnets

The parents of a 3-year-old girl from Oregon who had “flu-like” symptoms thought their daughter caught the flu until an X-ray showed a circle resembling a bracelet in the toddler’s stomach. Payton Bushnell’s parents saw a circle had formed in her stomach and originally thought she swallowed a bracelet. Doctors at Randal Children’s Hospital confirmed Payton had swallowed 34 high-powered desktop toy magnets that actually snapped her intestines together and tore three holes in her lower intestine and one in her stomach.

"The surgeon came out and said, 'I wouldn't do this unless I absolutely have to, but we have to cut your daughter open,'" said Payton’s father, Aaron Bushnell, Medical Daily previously reported. The toddler survived the intensive procedure and made a full recovery.

4. 25-Year-Old Pen

X-ray of 25-year-old pen in stomach
X-ray of a pen lodged for over two decades in woman's stomach. British Medical Journal

As the old adage goes, “a pen may be mightier than [stomach acid],” at least in the case of a 76-year-old British woman. A case published in the British Medical Journal found the unidentified woman had a pen stuck inside her stomach for the past 25 years. It was not until the patient experienced weight loss and diarrhea and underwent a CT scan that doctors at a hospital in Exeter found a pen inside her stomach.

“The stomach does not have an extensive sensory innervation and the felt tip pen was blunt,” Dr. Oliver Waters, a gastroenterologist who treated the woman, told ABC News. “So if the pen was not damaging the stomach, this would explain the patient’s lack of symptoms.” Waters and his team found the pen still wrote clearly after removing it out of the woman’s gastrointestinal hiding place.

5. 9-Pound Hairball

A teenage girl from Kyrgyzstan found it hard to stomach the truth when X-rays revealed the cause of her severe stomach pains was a massive 9-pound hairball. Eighteen-year-old Aypero Alekseeva learned her inability to properly eat or drink was due to the massive hairball blocking her digestive system after years of eating hair from the carpet and chewing the tips of her own hair, Medical Daily previously reported. Surgeons at Bishkek Hospital successfully removed the hairball that would’ve led to her death if left in her stomach longer. Alekseeva made a full recovery from surgery and returned home shortly after.

6. A Snake

A woman’s stomach in South Africa kept growing as she and other people assumed she was pregnant. However, instead of finding a baby, doctors found something else inside 49-year-old Maria Tsotetsi — a snake. Tsotetsi suspected a bishop placed the snake inside her after her former boyfriend took her to the bishop to cure her.

"The muthi was covered in white and brown snakeskin. The Bishop said this would cure me," she said, according to World Wide Weird News. A few days later she became sick and her teeth began to fall out. Traditional healer Ntsimbi Ngema said: "This kind of thing is done by jealous lovers. There is no way Maria could have a new boyfriend because he could die after having sex with her."

7. A Twin Brother

A 3-year-old boy in Peru had surgery to remove the body of a “parasitic twin” growing inside his stomach. Isbac Pacunda had his twin brother’s partially formed fetus with eyes, bones, and hair on the cranium removed, the Daily Mail reported. The fetus weighed a pound and a half and was 9 inches long. According to Dr Jonathan Fanaroff, a neonatologist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, some conjoined twins can survive as “parasites,” but not when one twin absorbs the other.

Remember, eat, chew, and swallow responsibly.