Digestive Case Study 4 (Bezoars):

Bezoars are foreign materials that form blockages in the intestinal tract. In the past, bezoars isolated from the stomachs and intestines of certain goats and sheep were preserved and used as medicinal charms. Some even believed that bezoars could heal and were used to treat ailments such as snake bites. A large bezoar stone was set in gold and included in the inventory of the crown jewels at the time of the ascension of James I to the English throne in 1662. Statistically, about 80% of the bezoars in humans occur before the age of 30 and more than 90% occur in women.


Google Search:Bezoars, Gastric Trichobezoar, and Foreign bodies and bezoars to answer the following questions:


Questions 1: Decribe the mechanical and biochemical processes of digestion.  Indicate where each takes place.

Question 2:  Medicinal charms?! Discuss the history of bezoars!


Question 3: What are the four subtypes of bezoars?


Question 4:What are some predisposing factors for phytobezoars? What (non-human) animals are likely to develop bezoars?


Question 5:  Although prevalence of bezoars in humans is low, what is the mortality rate if they remain untreated?


Question 6:  How are bezoars usually diagnosed? What are treatment options for a patient with bezoars?


Question 7:  Sometimes trichobezoars form as an occupational hazard. Name some occupations in which this could occur.


Question 8:  On rare occasions, trichobezoars may extend from the stomach into and through the entire small intestine. What is this syndrome called?


Adapted from: Human Physiology-from cells to systems by Lauralee Sherwood

Thomson/Brooks-Cole Publ. 5th edition 2004