Swallowing difficulties!!!

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Hi,

   I went out for a meal just over 2 weeks ago and had trouble swallowing some steak,since then I can't seem to swallow anything dry or large,sticky etc.It feels as though my throat closes up and it is going to get stuck!

I am going for an endoscopy soon,which I hope will show something,as it is really getting me down!

I used to eat what I wanted,when I wanted,but now food is something I dread!Every meal time I have to go through the same thing!

Does it ever go???

Thanks.sad

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  • Posted

    Hi Emlou

    I went through exactly the same things a you in November last year. Had an endoscopy no reason for blockage - did have thrush which cleared with medication. Still couldn't swallow - several months later had to see a Rheumatologist and I've been diagnosed with Sjorgrens Syndrome - an Autoimmune Disease. I had to see a speech a language therapist who eventually got me eating again but only soft moist food. This Sjorogrens affects the salivery glands and tears in the eyes - the reason I have trouble swallowing is because I'm no producing enough Saliva. It could be your problem - do you have dry eyes and a dry mouth? check your symptoms first and if you have any of them described for Sjorgrens then you need referring to a Rheumatologist. Hope this helps

    Good luck

    Margery

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  • Posted

    Hi Emlou

    I also forgot to mention that I had to go on a liquid diet for 3 months ( Ensure2) as I couldn't swallow anything other than liquids. I now make lots of soups with all fresh vegetables, Egg Custards and meals that are cooked in lots of liquids ie stews, casseroles - it's difficult wondering what to eat and 4 months later have still not been in a restaurant to eat with my husband.

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  • Posted

    You may want to research "Achalasia". It is a rare disease which affects 2 parts of swallowing.  1 - it affects the muscles of the esophagus so that they don't push the food down to your stomach properly.  2 - it affects the doorway between the stomach and esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter).  It keeps that door from opening to let the food go into the stomach.  Symptoms include difficulty swallowing foods and even liquids, and food coming back up from the esophagus (regurgitation) because it can't get into your stomach.  Ask your Dr to do a barrium swallow which will show exactly where your problem is and that should point them in the right direction for further testing to pinpoint your issue.
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  • Posted

    There are quite a lot of reasons for swallowing difficulties, mst of which are more common and less complicaed than achalasia, but having th endoscpy and a barium swallow should lead to a diagnosis.   Hope it clears up soon.

    Meanwhile, try keeping to food that will slip down easily, take your time over eating, try to relax at meal times, and keep up your nutrition with special drinks.  

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  • Posted

    Also get your iron levels checked. I know this isn't the usual cause but I suffered for 10 months with swallowing difficulty that came on suddenly like yours and did all the tests. Mine just ended up being iron deficiency anemia. An iron pill solved it in 5 days and it hasn't returned. Don't take iron without being tested first, though. Hope you find whatever the problem is.
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    • Posted

      Hello,

      I'm suffering difficulty swallowing since 2 months. It happened suddenly while I was eating. Doctors made some tests and said your problem is psychological. Then I found your comment and start to take iron pills. Now day by day I'm swallowing better. At first it was difficult to even drink water but now it's ok.

      My question is did you have also trouble with drinking liquids? And it happened again?

      Thanks for your helpful comment.

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    • Posted

      Wow, this is a pleasant surprise if it could be the reason and just get cured with a pill. Really happy for you. Just wondering if you gone through all the checkups for Achalasia or something else before it was decided on anemia?
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    • Posted

      Hi! I had an upper endoscopy and an appointment with the ENT/speech therapist. Then a barium swallow. Choked really bad on the pill. She called later and said she thought she saw something and that I should do the upper endoscopy again but they wouldn't do it. I think I had a syndrome where long term anemia causes webs in the throat. I've been okay ever since. I know it was a weird solution. I hope you get answers and can eat normally again.

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    • Posted

      Glad that it has improved, even though by unorthodox means!

      ?An endoscop?y is often done under a sedative and that can solve a lot problems.

      ?I did have something that might have been something similar, a web across a 'pouch' that resolved itself after a bout of severe vomiting

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    • Posted

      It is probably more complicated  and I would not wish to mislead you.  I am not sure that anaemia can cause the web feeling in your throat as such, but always best to ask a doctor.
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    • Posted

      Maybe more complicated but my problem dramatically decreased after taking pills especially on 3rd day. When I had a deep research about iron, I saw that iron deficiency can cause swallowing difficulties. Also I had some problems like cold hands, hair shedding etc. that I haven't known Iron deficiency can cause. We will see, I will inform after I completed iron medication.

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    • Posted

      Hi bookgirl5, Thank you very much for your reply. So you didn't see a GI specialist for your problem? I'm just wondering if different doctors see different things based on their focus. This "webs in the throat" you mentioned, was it spotted by the ENT/speach therapist? Did she ask you to have your iron level checked? Was that first time that you find out that you we anemic? Sorry for the question after question. Just try to understand it better, any tiny bit of hope worth to pursue.Thanks a lot.

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    • Posted

      Hello, thanks for your comment. I'm using ferrum fort. It contains 100 mg iron element. I take it daily. Sorry but I don't know what "OTC" means.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your response. OTC means Over the counter, non-prescribed. This is how it used in US.

      Have a great day and wishing you continue recovery from your symptoms🌻

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    • Posted

      Hi. I did see a GI specialist. And an ENT. The speech therapist did the barium swallow and was the one that called me later saying she thought she saw something. She was the only one that found anything. At this point I was feeling defeated. I'd lost 20 pounds and couldn't enjoy food anymore. Losing weight wasn't alarming since I had it to lose but still it seemed that no one really cared about my problem and they always asked me if I was stressed. I started having dizziness and at one point I couldn't see out of my left eye. Everything went white only for a second but it freaked me out. I decided to start over and made an appointment with a GP and had a list of complaints. He said he would test my thyroid. I asked if he could test my iron. Test results came back and my iron level was at 2 and hemoglobin 7.6. I highly recommend a blood test before taking iron. Too much iron is toxic. I was anemic when I was pregnant with my first baby. At the age of 41 I had a blood transfusion because of a freaky period which they said was caused by birth control pills. So at age 42 Ihad a baby - a reaction to no BC pills - lol. I didn't have health insurance when I had the transfusion and I was told to take iron but wasn't given any instructions and only took it for a month. I'm guessing I may have been anemic for a long time, since the baby was 5 years old before the iron was tested again. That's my long story. I really hope you can get a blood test? The iron factor is kind of a strange one but I like to share it because I went almost a year without relief for this problem. When I got the results I googled iron and swallowing and was surprised to find a connection. The doctors aren't too interested however. I get the feeling even they think it's weird. But I can eat and my hair is thicker and I can breathe better. I had every symptom of low iron. I wish you the best and pray you get the medical care you need. It is a frustrating problem.

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    • Posted

      Hi! I think I missed your comment earlier but I did see you mentioned hair loss and I did get a lot of my hair back after the iron pills. I had every symptom of low iron. I didn't have trouble with liquid but my gums turned bright red and any kind of spice or chocolate I couldn't tolerate. I took to eating a lot of carrots despite them being painful to swallow. which I guess Anemics tend to do. Even some of them burned my mouth. I told the speech therapist that if it was psychological then I would have trouble with the act of swallowing, not feel pain when swallowing. I got tired of hearing how it could be stress! So I think I read that you are doing better? Did you have a blood test for iron levels?

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    • Posted

      Thank you so very much for you taking time to have answered all my questions. I just asked the doctor to order a blood test for my daughter, I wish it's for me not her. Although a very tiny hope that this being a culprit, but hope is still hope. I've researched a lot about this symptom but never run into this connection untill I read your post. I just try to find alternative care before deciding on operation as a last resort. Wishing you all the best, take care.

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    • Posted

      Hi!

      After desperately searching an answer,finally I found your post. I also have swallowing problem since last year, 4 months after giving birth to my daughter which is now 1 year and 3 months old. I went to many doctors(currently neurologist) and until now there's still no diagnose.

      I'm crying reading at your post because I feel like your post might solve my problem. I will buy iron home test kits and I hope the result is clear that I have iron deficiency.

      Do you have other neurological symptoms like muscle spasm, numbness in legs or fingers,etc?

      Thank you so much!!!

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    • Posted

      Hi! glad that I found your post! Did you also have problem with breathing, extreme fatigue, and numbness in legs or hands? 

      And what was the blood result? did you have a low level of Hemoglobin or erythrocyte? Is your swallowing problem clear now?

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    • Posted

      Hi! I did have numbness around my mouth and I had restless legs. I don't recall numbness of hands, but yes extreme fatigue and breathlessness and just a lot of strange symptoms. All disappeared after taking iron. My ferritin level was 2 and my hemoglobin was 7.6 which is really low. they did a whole panel but that is what I remember. Anyway after 5 days of taking iron twice a day I was able to eat again. I do hope you find your solution. I felt so desperate by the time something worked. I just quit taking iron a week ago. My levels are at 99 now. Almost afraid to stop but we will see. Swallowing difficulties have never returned. I wish you the best! I'm glad you can check your levels and find out if this is the problem.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply! May I know the dose of your iron supplement? And did you still take the iron supplement twice a day after being able to swallow again or did you only take once a day after that?Did you have trouble swallowing all day long or only on a particular time? In my case, I can eat in the morning but from 12 pm onward the symptom starts. I lost 15 pounds since then. 

      I just saw my pregnancy record book that my Hemoglobin was 7!  And I remember now that my doctor said I have to take iron supplements twice a day. But silly me, I only took once a day for less than a monthrolleyes I thought I will be fine without taking it. Now I know why.

      Sorry for asking too many questions smile

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    • Posted

      7 is really low. I had a blood transfusion due to bleeding because of birth control pills they thought, when I was 41 then had a baby at 42 - no bc pills, haha - I did the same thing you did. After the transfusion they told me to take iron and I did - once a day but for less than a month. I didn't have medical insurance at the time. I think that's when my problems started. I was the most tired pregnant woman on the planet. Five years later, the swallowing thing happened. So once I found the iron was low I took iron twice a day for 2 1/2 years which is probably a long time but did have my blood tested ever so often. It is 65 mg iron also labeled as 325 mg Ferrous Sulfate. I just woke up one morning and it hurt to swallow scrambled eggs. I thought it would go away but was continuous for 10 months (everything hurt except liquids or pudding) and it was all day long. Doctors don't seem to take much interest in the fact. They are just glad that the solution was found. But if you look up something called Vincen Plummer ( I might be off on that name a little) it's a rare thing that happens. Also every once in awhile anemia symptoms do list difficulty swallowing.

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    • Posted

      I know how it feels sad it's the most disturbing thing ever. But I'm so glad that you're now healthy again. None of the symptoms back until now, right? I'm feeling sick every day since having DD but nobody understands me. My husband thinks I'm stressed because I have too many doctor appointments. 

      I got iron infusion twice after giving birth and until now my circle hasn't come yet. I think it's because of iron deficiency, don't you think?

      I haven't started taking iron supplement. I'm afraid that my difficulty swallowing stays sad Mine is 80mg and I still have it at home. I'm going to take it tomorrow. I wish I can be healthy again after taking iron supplement and I can swallow food normally again. I miss eating steak, it's been 8 months!!lol.

      Thank you for the reply again. I'm sure you're surprised that someone replies to your post from 2 years ago lol. I'll keep you updated *fingers crossed*

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    • Posted

      If the iron deficiency test does not solve things, you could ask for a barium swallow test.

      ​If you have spasms in your oesophageal muscles there are medications that might help with this;  sometimes they are caused by blockages or reflux.   Do you have a hiatus hernia after the birth of your daughter?   Sometimes there is extra reflux because of this.   A gastroenterologist may be able to help, and, if you have spasms an Upper GI (gastro-intestinal tract) surgeon.

      Sometimes the hiatus hernia / reflux / spasm  issues might be linked.

      ​Achalasia is a condition that prevents food progressing into the stomach because of the way that the nerves driving the peristaltic (swallowing process)  muscles do not switch on and off as they should do to propel food down through the system.   And being connected with the vagus nerve system that affects digestion, problems can travel elsewhere or arrive from elsewhere through the nerve system.

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    • Posted

      I hope you find the solution! Ive been fine ever since I took the iron. I hope you can get tested - just to see, I mean it can't hurt to find out your levels. Sometimes I regret posting in this site because it certainly isn't a common problem to have low iron create webs in the throat and I feel bad that most everyone has much more complicated issues, but I thought maybe others might have a simple answer like me. Simple but hard for doctors to detect or believe for that matter. I did have the barium swallow which showed nothing initially but that darn pill I had to swallow wouldn't go down. She called me later to say she did see something and suggested the upper endoscopy again but they wouldn't do it. I got tired of the issue of stress coming up. If it was stress, my throat wouldn't feel like it was raw every time I swallowed. After giving birth the cycle can take a long time to come back especially if you are nursing. Otherwise I don't think iron deficiency makes cycles stop. I hope you can eat steak again soon. The first thing I ate without pain was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Usually not my favorite but it was fabulous after 10 months of not being able to eat bread.

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    • Posted

      Hi! sorry for the late reply. I already tested and I found out that I have vitamin B6 and Zinc deficiency, which also causes iron deficiency. I'm taking iron supplement once daily for 4 days and my difficulty swallowing is getting better.

      I'm always having trouble swallowing pill, so what I do is chewing it and drink orange juice to absorb it better (even though I read that it should not be chewed lol). Usually, I barely eat anything from 1pm onward but now I can eat food in the night time. It feels weird to be able swallow again lol.

      The web in my throat is also slightly better. Not entirely gone, though but we'll see. I'm still having other neurological symptoms but they're getting better. I'm no longer extremely fatigued. I've never been happier! 

      I'm having a doctor appointment next week and I'm going to tell him that I have iron deficiency. I have done many nerve conduction test and I hope he understands that my symptoms are the cause of iron deficiency.

      I really thank you for your post! You save my life!! I pray for your health and happiness wherever you are! :D 

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    • Posted

      Hi, 

      thank you for taking your time to reply my post. I wanted a barium swallow test but apparently, here in Germany doctors don't like to refer their patients to do this test. I wonder why. I was not told anything after the delivery. I was only told that I lost lots of blood and they gave me iron injection three times. 

      I'm currently taking iron supplement for four days and my symptoms are getting better. I'm still feeling webs in throat but not as bad as it was used to be I have a doctor appointment next week and I'm going to tell him about this.

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    • Posted

      Sometimes you can ask your pharmacist for medication or supplements in liquid form, or in the form of pills that you can place under your tongue, so that it can be absorbed into your body better, without having to go through your throat and stomach.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for the update! I'm so happy for you smile it took five days to be able to swallow normally after I started the iron. I remember at first the pill bobbing around in my throat before it went down. That got better pretty quickly too. I'm taking a multi vitamin and hoping the B vitamins in it keep my iron levels normal. I'm so glad you got tested! Don't know what the doctors will think. Mine were unimpressed by how iron solved all my problems and there were many! I was overjoyed. I'm glad I posted my story now. Thank you! Hope everything continues to get better for you!

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