LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Woman Lost Her Voice For 12 Years After Accidentally Swallowing A Coin

July 15, 2019

Even an adult can accidentally swallow a foreign object like a cherry core or, say, an engagement ring that was carefully hidden in a piece of cake. Generally, we don’t attach too much importance to such incidents, unless there is a threat to health or life, and we wait for the foreign body to exit our body naturally. However, in rare cases, the consequences may be very sad.

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48-year-old Australian writer Marie McCready became famous for her book Voiceless in which she told her story. She was only 13 when she suddenly went completely mute. Then, in 1984, her story was widely publicized, because the reasons for her loss of the voice could not be determined by doctors, and some people even believed that her condition was a "punishment from above."

The girl was depressed and even developed a mental disorder, which necessitated treatment in a psychiatric clinic. Nevertheless, she gradually got used to communicating with the help of facial expressions, gestures, and notes. After the treatment, Marie got an education and later a job. At 25, however, she was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. It was then that the doctors removed a coin from her throat, which they recognized as the culprit of her muteness. The woman eventually fully recovered her speech function.

Swallowing foreign objects is fraught with suffocation, injury, poisoning, and many other troubles. As in Marie’s case, they may not reach the stomach and get stuck somewhere along the way. Then their extraction without medical help is unlikely. You also need to turn to the doctor if you notice the following signs of the presence of a foreign object in the digestive tract:

  • increased salivation;

  • pain in the neck and chest;

  • problem swallowing food;

  • persistent vomiting;

  • stomachache;

  • fever;

  • blood in the stool.

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When it comes to children, the most dangerous items that they can swallow are considered to be ones with sharp edges, magnets, batteries, or products that can cause poisoning.

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Marie had no idea when the coin could have got into her body (it might have happened during a meal, for example). So, the doctors couldn’t determine the cause of her muteness. Common causes for loss of voice also include:

  • colds;

  • smoking;

  • allergic reactions;

  • rheumatoid arthritis;

  • dysfunctions of the thyroid gland;

  • laryngitis;

  • cysts, polyps, and other neoplasms on or near the vocal cords;

  • nerve damage in the larynx area;

  • cancer;

  • gastroesophageal reflux;

  • some neurological disorders;

  • psychological trauma.

If you are sure that you lost your voice due to a cold or overstraining of the vocal cords, there is no particular need for alarm. However, it can be a sign of something far more dangerous, so medical help is highly recommended.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.