Difficulty swallowing food and drink and vomiting during meals.

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In November I was diagnosed with tonsillitis and had the normal symptoms, this lasted about 10 days but cleared up. Not long after I was having a fizzy drink using a straw and this felt like it was stuck in my throat and I could not swallow it. At the time I didn't think much of it but then it started to happen often when I had a drink.

In December I was eating a hot dog and it felt like this became stuck in my throat and I started to choke and vomited. I became concerned after this because I was now choking on food and fluids. Again this began to occur frequently ( at least once a week) and I started to cut things out my diet like fizzy drinks, bread and foods that were harder to swallow. It got to the point where I was sitting eating meals but making sure I had access to a toilet/sink or bin in case it started to choke and vomited.

I went to my GP and was referred to ENT in March they did a rigid camera down my throat. The specialist said I had a lot of reflux and prescribed omeprazole and gaviscon. The symptoms did not change initially but after a few weeks I had more symptoms like hiccups every time I ate. By April I had cut my diet down to soup, water and soft foods and I would not eat a meal in front of anyone in case I struggled to swallow my food and vomited. By now I was swallowing food and feeling like I needed a drink but the water would not go down and then I would be sick. My GP prescribed erythromycin and said the side effects would help the waves in my throat push food and fluids down. After taking these for two week I began to struggle with food and water at each meal so I stopped the tablets. It in now 6 month since this started and I am getting no better, I am losing weight and feel miserable. Meal times feel like a chore and I do not want to eat or drink. My ENT specialist said he treated me for GERD but the treatment has not worked. He has referred me to gastro, a swallowing specialist and for a barium x ray. 

Has anyone else experienced this?

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    So sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. I'm finding it hard to swallow some foods. Currently I'm pretty much having soups. When having soup I wet some wholemeal bread which sometimes helps me a bit.

    It's a catch 22 in that you have to eat but I know how you feel about not looking forward to eating. I've not been eating well and have lost about half a stone in a month. I'm 6ft and am around 12st and can't afford to lose any weight. Not eating obviously makes you feel, tired and stressed. Try and split your meals up. Work out a normal days worth of food to keep you healthy and split it up. I know it's hard though at times. 

    Sometimes before a meal I'll have a gaviscon chewy and it makes things a bit easier. 

    Also have you tried manuka honey? Have a tea spoon and leave it to rest at the back of your throat. I find it pretty soothing. 

    Black mollases have helped me a bit as well. It tastes very strong though. 

    I've had reflux for the last month constantly and find chamomile tea with a bit of honey soothing and helps my food go down. 

    Good luck with getting yourself better. 

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    • Posted

      I have been putting croutons in my soup but sometimes that's a struggle too. Its the vomiting that's bothering me most at the minute because when I eat and I feel the food is stuck and I have a drink to wash it down it all then comes back up and I cant keep anything down after. I have lost 15 pound in 4 weeks. I find chocolate and pringles I can eat because they melt in the mouth. I have been drinking milkshakes to replace food because they fiĺl me up. But after a while they stop working or I get fed up of them. I have tried standing and sitting at tables but nothing works. 
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  • Posted

    I think the priority is just to eat as much as you can even if it's spread out throughout the day. If chocolate works just eat that. Although it's not that healthy at least it contains some calories. 

    Im im sure the swallowing specialist will be able to offer some good advice. They are a specialist for a reason and would have encountered your problem. 

    Best of luck! 

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  • Posted

    Hi Emma.  Sounds like you're having a real rotten time of it!  I'm sure lots of people will give you advice on what's good/not good to eat.  I haven't experienced this personally, so all I can suggest is that you look into taking some Complan?  Complain is like a milkshake, but gives you most of the vitamins and minerals required on a daily basis if you can't have a healthy, balanced diet.
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  • Posted

    Hi Emma, it sounds like you need a referral to a dietician who has knowledge of reflux. Chocolate for instance makes reflux worse because it contains caffeine and theobromin which makes the LES (valve at top of stomach) looser so more refluxate can leak out. There is a lot of info on this forum re foods which are bad for GERD - coffee, spicey and fatty foods, fizzy drinks, onions, garlic. A lot of it is personal though. It might help to keep a diary of what you eat and what works better and what gives you bad symptoms. 

    Stress is a major factor too with many people. Have you tried any distraction techniques around mealtimes? Or meditation in between?

    Im so sorry its so hard for you at present and hope you can find some peace.

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    • Posted

      I have read what foods to stay away from but sometimes chocolate is the only thing I can swallow. I dont suffer from heartburn or indigestion and did not know I had reflux until I was seen by a specialist. My symptoms are food getting stuck in my throat and then when I have a drink it won't push down so I bring it all back up, any further drinks after that for at least an hour sometimes longer will not stay down at all and I get hiccups throughout meals. I have cut most food out my diet and live off soup, pasta and water. Some days when I feel I am having a good day I may try something more solid. If I struggle I dont eat but if it goes down it I take it as a successful meal. I haven't taken my gaviscon for nearly 2 week but this hasn't made a difference either way. I am still on omeprazole 20mg twice a day. I have started a food diary. I don't feel stressed until I start to choke but subconsciously I prob am over thinking meals. I try to sit with family when I am at home to take my mind off it and when at work I usually try carry on with typing or reading while I eat. I avoid eating in public which I hate because this is my favourite pass time.
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    • Posted

      A lot of what you say is familiar. I also have silent reflux - no heartburn - and think Ive probably had it for many years. I now have barretts oesophagus. I dont have the swallowing problem for which im grateful, but certain things make me choke, especially dairy which ive had to give up. And this makes me anxious about eating with other people so i do understand and sympathise. I hope you get some satisfaction from the gastro and swallowing specialist. Good you're doing a diary so you can take that with you.

      Maybe not relevant to you but just in case, but my GP told me that erythromycin (and clarithromycin) are not suitable for people with reflux. Also Im sure you know that ibuprophen and some other painkillers also increase reflux.

      Good luck.

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    • Posted

      I was given erythromycin and my symptoms appeared to get worse and I started to get a lot of phlegm and white throth in my throat so stopped taking them after 2 weeks. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Emma,

    I've been experiencing difficulty swallowing for a few years. They wanted me to take medicine for it, but I decided against it, which may or may not prove to be a mistake in the long run. What I have done was work to eliminate sources of negativity that were causing me stress and upset on a regular basis. And at meal time, I try to create a purposeful calm, test the passage with a cool or hot drink before taking a bite of solid food. If the liquid passes through with no difficulty, I proceed with small bites of food, chew it well, swallow, and repeat with sips of liquid in between. This strategy doesn't always work, but I've found it works more frequently with practice. Instead of difficulty at every meal, I maybe have difficulty every couple of weeks, depending on things in my schedule. Gone are the days of wolfing food down on the run or without thinking. Even small stressors can build up and wear our systems down over time when consistent and prolonged. It may be time to evaluate things in your life and any stress management strategies you presently use or should incorporate into your every day. I've increased my daily physical activity and work to get in at least 3 miles of consistent walking, along with resistance work with weights to. All have made things better. I hope you find this helpful and that you find relief too.

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  • Posted

    Emma, sounds like what I have been going through for over 2 years. It has gotten so bad now that sometimes I have to stand up to swallow without choking and I have to sleep at a 45+ degree amgle so I don't wakeup choking.

    I know it has been a long time, but I wanted to give you something to look into, vagus nerve damage.

    Please let me know if you have found any help or relief.

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  • Posted

    I've been experiencing this exact same thing for the past few months. Not every day, though. Have you found the cause or found a treatment that works for you yet? I'm sorry you've been going through this for so long, but I was relieved that my google search found something about this!

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  • Posted

    I know this is an old post, but at the off chance that this condition still persists, emma...how is your breathing?

    Did anyone think to check your lungs, and for that matter your heart?

    I see no reason for your stomach to accept food if your body's first emergency is with your lungs.

    Heart failure is a huge cause of lung disorders.

    Seams to me, if nothing was found in one spot they should have looked in a different spot. Sometimes I really hate Drs. Blood clot too

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  • Posted

    Normally, I’ll be eating and swallow too big of a piece or eat too fast and end up getting food caught in my esophagus.  It feels like my esophagus is about to deplore under pressure.  I use the restroom and throw it up, but this past Thursday, I this had happened and I could eat or drink.  Not even able to swallow my own saliva for 2 full days.  I was getting dehydrated and was definitely hungry.  I had decided to go to the walk-in Saturday morning l, but Friday night as I was laying in bed I had an intense feeling of having to throw up.  I ended up throwing up a big mass of Italian beef that I was eating from Thursday.  After that I’ve been fine.  Esophagus is really tender and I can’t eat too fast or it’ll really hurt (assuming it’s a bit swallen from irritation).
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