haven't been able to swallow in 3 months...

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One day in february I got this feeling out of nowhere that i couldn't swallow at all. I've been having throat troubles since July but they were never *really* unbearable. It started with burning in my throat (GERD), weird crackling/sizzling noises coming from my throat, and my swallowing just feeling abnormal but I didn't pay much attention to it because I felt like I could deal with it & i could still eat. It was just annoying. I took heartburn meds and they helped with the burning but not the gurgling noises & the weird sensation when swallowing. 

So it's only gotten worse since then. In January I choked on a lot on foods, I could still eat afterwards though I just had to be careful what I ate. Then one day mid-feb, it was a normal day and i had eaten fine, I tried to eat a sandwich but I just couldn't. I don't really know how to describe it but my saliva felt weird, like it wasn't coming out right? My entire mouth just didn't feel right. And I just couldn't swallow. So I've been living off of breakfast essentials drinks, yogurt, flan, milkshakes, soup broth, and this spanish oatmeal that's basically just milk tbh called maizena for the past 3 months.

But I've gotten worse. It's hard for me to even drink water, I've choked badly on it a couple times too. I feel weak all the time and I'm just constantly starving and I've lost 30 pounds. The noises are worse now too and I literally can't even swallow my own spit. It feels like my esophagus is shrinking and it just feels really small and like nothing's going down. I really don't know why this happening.

I've been to a GI and ENT, did a swallow study but i couldn't actually swallow anything so it didn't show anything useful, i still have to do a barium swallow but i'm scared of choking & then of course my doctor's want me to do an endoscopy but im absolutley terrified of being sedated so I'm just living like this. idk what to do. I just want to eat food. I wish I wasn't scared and didn't have anxiety about the stupid endoscopy. Actually I just wish there was an xray or CT scan or something that could show my esophagus bc honestly why isn't there one by now??? that's besides the point tho anyway does anyone have this problem/what do you think it is/what did you do about it/how do you live like this bc it's so hard and I'm only 18 and don't wanna spend my whole life not eating food and constanlty choking on my own saliva/wow that's a lot of questions but please help 

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  • Posted

    The doctors do need to do an endoscopy to make sure that there is nothing physical that is causing the problem.   I was very anxious about the first endoscopy that I had, but they have me a sedative and I did not feel anything.   If you are nervous and tense I think it is likely that the sedative will be better than the throat spray they offer.

    ​Meanwhile, although this a physical ailment, try some form of relaxation therapy  as this can be really helpful in reducing the symptoms for some people.   Try eating little and often and give it time to progress down into your stomach between mouthfuls.   Do not try and eat too much at once, and do not try and wash food down with water.   Try and keep up nutrition with special drinks.

     

    ​Some of what you experience might be reflux from your stomach, or it might be regurgitation of undigested food that has not reached your stomach.   Mention the possibility of achalasia to the doctors so that they do not assume that you are suffering from an eating disorder.

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    • Posted

      I do remember now having an endoscopy where I was partially sedated years ago.  [I have had a number of them over time.] I think that's what you all mean.  But the GI physician  I have been going to where I presently live put me under completely--and that"s what I was referring to.  He did not give me another option. They put a device in your mouth to keep it open, put something in your veins, and that is the last you know until you wake up in another room.  Whatever the anesthesia was it wore off quite fast. The doctor decided to stretch my esophagus while I was under and told me so when I awoke.  I assume he does his endoscopies in that manner and he can't be the only one.  I did okay with the other endoscopies, partial sedation and throat spray [although I wouldn't recommend it], but the original poster might have the option of being rendered unconscious.

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    • Posted

      The thing I'm anxious about is not feeling anyting though. I don't want to feel like I'm dead. Or have any complicated side effects or feel worse bc that's been my experience w most doctors sadly rolleyes I'll look into relaxation therapy and yeah I've basically been living off of nutrition drinks. Funny you mention the eating disorder thing, I noticed today on my swallow study results that they put "possible anoxeria" and I freaked out. Like how can they say that? I'd never choose to not eat I'd do anything to be able to eat again but just because they can't find the cause they want to say that...it's so stupid. Anyway, thanks for the advice/comment! 

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    • Posted

      Did your esophagaus feel better after they stretched it? Did you have achalasia or something else? I've been doing a lot of research and there's so many things that cause difficulty swallowing idek what mine could be. I definitely would not ever agree to be completely unconscious though...

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    • Posted

      Your thick foamy saliva could possibly be a result of not drinking enough liquid.  You may be getting dehydrated.  Even though you say it's difficult for you to swallow, you can't stop drinking and must try to get down something with nutrients--those canned shakes that Alan suggested.  Are you avoiding the doctor now on account of not be able to deal with doing the endoscopy?  You would never agree to be completely unconscious?  Oh, I don't know... never say never.  What if, heaven forbid, you were in an auto accident and needed a life-saving operation?   Would you say to the surgeon, "Doc, just give me a shot of whiskey and a bullet to bite on.  I swear I can take the pain and won't go into shock!"  Only kidding, honey.  You don't need to be completely knocked out for the endoscopy.  Just be put into "a happy place" by the moderate sedation or have your throat numbed to kill the gag reflex.  Almost.  I know your fear.  I was young once, too, back in the 19th Century.  I had to have a biopsy on a little lump in my breast [turned out to be just a tiny fatty tumor, benign, didn't even leave a scar] and I was frightened of being put under ,too.  I begged the surgeon to just use a local anesthetic and he said, "Okay".  It went fine and afterward I thanked him for humoring me.  His answer was "I did it because you're a woman and have a woman's endurance."   Well, I'm still a woman but not so fearful anymore.  To quote Dr. Mehmet Oz [of television fame]: "By the way, for minimally invasive surgeries, you have about the same chance of dying from the anesthesia as you do from a haircut, which is about the same chance of dying from the embarrassment after a bad haircut.?"  And an endoscopy isn't even a surgery. 

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  • Posted

    Also, anyone else have the throat noise issue (gurgling) all the time or having really thick foamy spit all the time? 
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    • Posted

      I forgot to address the gurgling.  It could be the result of the acid reflux.  Those gurglings usually don't persist for a long time.  Oh--and having my esophagus stretched the couple of times I did helped for a while.  I need an endoscophy, too, and am on the schedule. 

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    • Posted

      Yashie, if you are still reading, there's something else that could account for the gurgling.  I had forgotten all about it, which is strange because my mother and I were both diagnoses with it long ago.  It is Zenker's Diverticulum.  I have received quite a cocktail of genes from both my parents and, as a result, my digestive system seems to be made of cheap tinsel.  However, over time this Zenker's affected me so minimally that it completely slipped my mind.  I only mention it now because the Patient description includes the gurgling, which I never had.  You can see it here.  The severity of Zenker's evidently varies quite a bit.

      ?https://patient.info/doctor/pharyngeal-pouch

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    • Posted

      One caveat, though, I do not know if this disorder is found in young persons.  The URL I gave states that it manifests in people over the age of 70, but when I was diagnosed I was 20 years younger than that.
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    • Posted

      Achalasia can be found in young people, and even in children, but is most commonly found between the ages of 30 and 60.  There are also other conditions that are associated with swallowing / motitility problems, but it needs a specialist to distinguish between them.  

      ?You can get a pouch (ie diverticulum) developing, which accumulates saliva and air and cause plumbing-type noises.   I think the 'thick, foamy saliva' needs to be checked out, just in case it might be connected with thrush / candidiasis.

      This is a non-qualified guess, by the way.

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    • Posted

      I was diagnosed at 22 but symptons started when I was 21.

      The consultant back then ( 1990 ) said it was very unusual

      for someone my age to develope it.

      I think that is one of the reasons I had so much trouble

      Getting them to believe me.

      At first I was told it was in my head because I hadn't lost weight

      and it wasn't until later that I had lost 7 stone and

      couldn't keep water down that they did something.

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    • Posted

      I think it's my fault that, in replying to myself, I was not more specific that I was still referring to Zenker's Diverticulum without achalasia.  I was too tired last night to look into the age range with regard to that but did this morning.  Google came up right off with a GI site that said they had seen someone as young as 30 with Zenker's.  That one might have achalasia and Zenker's at the same time never occurred to me but why not?  I hate the very thought of the lives of such very young people being tainted by achalasia but my reading and testimony here has already made the possibility plain.  [You are right about the cadidiasis, too.]  But I think there may be a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to achalasia and other autoimmune disorders.  Two breakthroughs came about in 2014.  Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium appear to have satisfied the scientific community with their conclusion that achalasia is an autoimmune response, after all.  [A couple of papers that I viewed that post date 2014 did not seem to dispute.]  In that same year, scientists at Bristol University revealed the possibility of preventing cells from attacking healthy tissue without immune suppressive drugs, converting agressor cells into protector ones.  That was three years ago and I do not yet know the precise status of that research now.  But one can't hurry science. These breakthroughs are explained in two articles [not papers] that  are easily read.  If anyone cares to have a look, he or she can send me a PM and I will send them.

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    • Posted

      I imagine that it is feasible to suffer from both, but the way to find out is to have the specific tests that would show that you were suffering from either / both.   The causes could be different.
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    • Posted

      Ach--I meant I would send links to those articles.  Also, if one wants to know the status of some research, if it could hold out promise for achalasia specifically--and when--one is best off to write to someone involved in the study of T cells.  So I did. Perhaps I'll even receive a response.

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    • Posted

      Reading the info on Zenkers, it seems like something I could have. I have all the symptoms. Maybe I'll mention it to my doctor the next time I go, but they'll probably say it's not possible for someone so young or something. Idk, I guess I'll try. Thanks for all the responses!

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    • Posted

      I hope your next meeting with your doctor will be in the very near future.  Don't hesitate to mention anything you want to bring up.  Once again, from your description of your symptoms, you need someone to look at your throat and esophagus very soon.  Having difficulty swallowing for three months, losing thirty pounds [ten pounds per month] and living on mush and puree indicates some action on your part pronto.  Honey, old toothless people eat better than your daily fare.  Please get that endoscopy and then come back here and tell us the results.  That's my suggestion. You'll get more support that way, everybody will learn a bit more, and future readers can also benefit.  I think, more often than not, people come to the Patient forum seeking advice, ideas, reassurance and then don't come back.  The stories are left unfinished, the symptoms remain mysterious because no reader knows what they indicated in the final analysis.

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