What is hydrogen peroxide? Hydrogen peroxide is described as a clear, odorless and colorless oxidizing solution that comes in different concentrations for as low as 3% to as high as 90%. This type of solution can be used in a lot of ways depending on the concentration. For example, a 3% solution can be used as a common household disinfectant. And 35% solution is considered to be food grade or technical grade solution and is readily bought in many health food stores in the mistaken belief that it will cure cancer, HIV and a lot more. On the other hand, 90% hydrogen peroxide is so concentrated that it can be used as a rocket fuel.
What are the side effects of hydrogen peroxide ingestion? What does it do to the body?
It is quite obvious that the higher the strength of the peroxide, the more serious or significant the resulting problems will be. However, ingesting diluted hydrogen peroxide can still cause unfavorable side effects such as vomiting, mouth burns, and even stomach bleeding. Diluted hydrogen peroxide used as enemas are also found out to cause serious gastrointestinal tract problems. On the other hand, ingesting highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide can lead to stroke, brain swelling and may even lead to death. So what are the other side effects of hydrogen peroxide ingestion?
Low strength hydrogen peroxide, which is commonly found in mouthwashes or wound solutions, does have lesser side effects if ingested. However, once a higher concentration of this solution is taken orally, through IV or any other routes into the body, then serious complications will most likely happen. Below are some of the specific side effects of diluted hydrogen peroxide ingestion:
- Nausea or dizziness with vomiting;
- Burns in the mouth, throat, esophagus and the stomach lining;
- Ulcer formation and bleeding in the stomach;
- Inflammation of the intestines;
- Perforation or rupture of the colon.
However, it is important for us to note that these effects might only happen once large amounts of hydrogen peroxide are ingested. Small doses rarely cause serious complications in the body. Eye contact with diluted hydrogen peroxide can also cause damage, which can result in pain and irritation. However, this is unlikely to cause any permanent damage. In case hydrogen peroxide is given through IV, then it can cause inflammation and burns to the injection site as well as the inflammation to the blood vessels. Air emboli could also occur, which can create a life-threatening reaction to the body.
These are just some of the effects of ingesting or taking in hydrogen peroxide in the body.