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  1. #1

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    Anyone ever have food get stuck when swallowing?

    I've had this problem off and on for about 5-6 years now.

    When it happens, it's usually when I'm eating meat. As I swallow, the food gets stuck in the lower esophagus/upper chest. It just sits there and it is really painful. If I drink some water, it eventually goes down, maybe after 20 or 30 seconds. I can still breathe, but it hurts so bad and it's kind of scary. After the food goes down, I'm usually fine for the rest of the meal.

    As mentioned, this has been an off and on problem. I've gone for several months where I'm fine before an episode reoccurs. I've been guilty of taking too big of bites, that's for sure (and that's when it happens). Lately I've had some recurrance. As long as I make sure to chew my food properly before swallowing, it's generally not an issue.

    I've heard that stress can be a factor and, although I don't feel particularly stressed (at least not any more than usual), I've noticed that these episodes seem to happen when I'm a bit sleep deprived.

    Have any of you experienced something like this? Thanks in advance.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  2. #2

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    It's happened to me a few times in the past year - also with meat - and I've had to do a lot of coughing to get to the food out. I too find it scary, though not painful - just distressing.

    I think I too have taken big bits and swallowed too quickly. And there is a stress association. The worst time occurred right after we put our dog unexpectedly to sleep. I spent several hours coughing up.

    It's good to remember: take small bites of meat, and swallow slowly.

  3. #3

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  4. #4

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    It is a medical condition called dysphagia. Google it.

  5. #5

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    a few times, I try to remember to take smaller bites and drink water in-between the bites.

  6. #6
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    I've had the problem off and on for years. My uncle does too, for way more years than me. When it happens I slow down and chew more thoroughly and I am fine. It's usually meat or sometimes bread that causes it.

    I just Googled dysphagia. While yeah those are the symptoms, if doesn't bother me often enough to worry about.

  7. #7
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    You need to go to the doctor and find out what's behind it. I've got a ligament thing that's related, but you should always know why it's happening, some reasons need to be treated.
    Sit vis nobiscum.
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  8. #8

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    Eating in a rush can cause it too. You take shallow breaths or forget to exhale between bites (which relaxes your airway). That is where stress and anxiety would play in as well.

    I've been taught in CPR class that you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself by bending over the back of a chair, but it's better to concentrate on taking smaller bites and not get in that situation.

  9. #9
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    It's certainly worth getting looked into. I started with this problem but after testing it was discovered I have strictures on my esophagus and now have to go in every 6-8 to have it stretched out. Getting food caught can be very painful and trying to explain to someone the physical pain it causes is difficult. Meat and bread are the 2 biggest triggers. Hope it's not a continual problem for you but I would get it checked out.

  10. #10
    ...an acquired taste
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    I agree- get it checked out. It is most likely just a matter of eating smaller pieces, chewing your food more, and slowing down, but maybe not. Dysphagia is a generic term for difficulty swallowing. There are other things like achalasia that are more specific, and any physical barrier to getting food to the stomach could be the problem, such as an esophageal stricture, hiatal hernia, something called vascular rings/slings, or even esophageal cancer (less likely). If you are concerned enough to ask, why not get it checked out- for peace of mind if nothing else. It would probably just involve a swallow study initially, where they take x-rays while you drink contrast material. Easy.

  11. #11
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    My father has esophageal cancer. This and weight loss are typically the only symptoms.

    If you've had it for years, that is likely not the reason. But if anyone reading has only had it begin recently, please see a doctor. My dad ignored this symptom for five months. Five months could have made a big difference.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    My father has esophageal cancer. This and weight loss are typically the only symptoms.

    If you've had it for years, that is likely not the reason. But if anyone reading has only had it begin recently, please see a doctor. My dad ignored this symptom for five months. Five months could have made a big difference.
    Sorry to hear about your dad's condition. Hope he's coping okay.

    Yes, I will check it out. It's not debilitating, but when it happens it's no fun at all, it hurts.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences, much appreciated!
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  13. #13

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    Yes....I've had this too and ended up in the ER because I got bread stuck there and couldn't get it up.

    The ER dr told me it is caused by damage to your lining of the esophagus due to acid reflux/GERD.

    He put me on a dose of prilosec for 3 months and as long as I limit/avoid triggers (tomato sauce, alcohol, coffee, chocolate), then I am fine.

    Because yours seems to be fairly mild, I am betting it is acid reflux related too.
    I'm not spoiled...I deserve all my stuff.

  14. #14
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    It could be a hiatal hernia --http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/hiatal-hernia

    I have this. It feels like a lump of food is stuck in the esophagus and won't go down. When I have it, it can happen even with a tiny nibble or a gulp of water - it is worse with a big bite of harder to chew food, but even a small bite or sip can feel stuck. Mine showed up on an Xray after drinking some of that goop they give you. It can be associated with acid reflux - maybe the doctors here can tell us why it happens. For me, if I take Prilosec OTC, it works not only on the acid reflux, but it also seems to keep the hernia from bulging, and I don't have any symptoms. Doctor said it was ok for me to be on Prilosec long term so I take a 14-day treatment, then I take a break, and if I start feelings indigestion again, I take another 14-day treatment before the lump acts up. I'd go to the doctor about it if I were you. There are some nastier versions of it, plus other things it could be.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  15. #15
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    If you have acid reflux, make sure you are treating it. It is a huge risk factor for esophageal cancer along with smoking and excessive use of alcohol. This is a cancer usually not discovered until it is stage 4. It has a horrifyingly low survival rate. My father (who had NONE of those risk factors, so it is a mystery as to why he got it) has beat the odds by still being with us 14 mths after diagnosis. The vast majority of patients don't survive a full year.

  16. #16

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    I have always had problems swallowing, more so with bread or meat. Since I live alone, I am very aware that I have to be careful and eat only small nibbles at a time so there's no danger of choking.

    I have had acid reflux for almost 20 years and also have hiatus hernia and a gall bladder that is loaded with stones (but so far asymptomatic). I have endoscopy every two years to rule out esophageal cancer and check for stomach polyps (I've already had a benign polyp removed from my stomach during endoscopy).

    Prilosec doesn't do much for my acid reflux. I take Nexium 3 times a week, try to keep my weight down, avoid eating after 6 pm at night, and sleep on a slight wedge that elevates my head and shoulders. That usually keeps symptoms at bay. The only time I run into problems (of course) is when I go to Nationals. Then my schedule is thrown completely off, I don't have my wedge, and have limited control over menu choices. So I always bring a boatload of Nexium and antacids and hope for the best.

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