Trouble Swallowing.. Please Help!

Posted , 5 users are following.

I have been lurking around on these forums for many years and now face a predicament of my own that I was hoping the community here could help me with. For the past 2 weeks I have had difficulty swallowing. It all started when I choked piece of chicken, since then I have been anxious to eat any solid food and when I do it feels like it's stuck at the back of my throat. I have issues with acid in the past for about 5 years, had the endoscopy 2 and half years ago which showed nothing but mild gastritis. I am 26 years of age, did smoke when I was younger and do occasionally smoke.

I am currently on a liquid diet and am at my Witt's end!! I have been to the GP who firstly prescribed antibiotics (Amoxiccilin) and now he has referred me for a second endoscopy. Furthermore, I have struggled with anxiety on and off over the years and do get panic attacks which makes me feel weak and it feels like there is a knot in my throat.

Is the swallowing thing all in my head ? Or is there something much more sinister behind all of this?

Your replies and comments are appreciated.

Thanks

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Moh, I’m not surprised you are at your witts end and, no doubt feeling very confused with the uncertainty that could be causing these symptoms. When you choked on the chicken had you chewed and, swallowed it as normal or, was the choking an unexpected event that had you in a state of panic, that would be very distressing? It is clearly stressful for you which will hinder your eating if you believe that you are going to choke again every time you eat. I have had Achalasia for 28 years now and, my food be it soft, liquids get backed up and, it causes me to regurgitate and, it gets stuck. I can choke on my own saliva at the moment which often wakes me during the night but, I have to say I have never been afraid to eat and, it became the norm for a very long time before I worked out little ways of reducing those events by eating little and, often, not rushing my food, funny little neck stretches and, avoiding stress is key.  Obviously people with this awful desease deal with it in many different ways and, swallowing always presents problems especially in group environments and, you feel embarrassed or, anxious about choking or, regurgitating in front of others.  I would personally speak to your GP and, ask to be referred to a gastroenterologist for further tests such as a barium swallow and, a manamatory test which are both the best investigative procedures to see how your oesophagus is behaving. It sounds as though you are in a viscous circle whilst dealing with your swallowing and, anxiety which is probably making both issues worse. Definitely ask for a manamatory investigation and, referal. I know it must be very difficult to fight that fear of eating but, the more relaxed you are the easier it will be. I know it’s easier said than done and, I’m sure you have heard this all before but, don’t go down the phsycosomatic route before ruling anything else out. I often feel like the back of my throat has closed up, a sensation and, if you suffer from the awful acid reflux it will seem worse than it really is, although a bad attack can make your throat red raw. Some days I sound like a 40/day smoker due to the acid, often lose my voice so you can feel as though your gullet is restricted. I feel so sorry for you and, I hope your GP can help you with arranging further tests for you. Wishing you the best and, hopefully you will know what is going on soon. Take care 
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  • Posted

    Hi There Im Kerry and belong to Achalasia support groups on Faceboo" Achalasia Questions and Answers support group" 

    that may help you with treatment options, some support as doctors don't help much and only us A know how bad we feel and what we go through. Everyone is very nice .  I have achalasia type 3 and was diagnosed after seeing 3 different gastros.  I had a barium swallow which showed dysmotility then had a endoscopy showed nothing but inflamation.  Then had manometry test done which isn't very pleasant but this is when I got a diagnosis.  I recently had POEM surgery done .  There are other treatment options for the Type 1 and 2 and 4.  You don't sound well and you should ak for the manometry test a lot of doctors just don't no enough about the disease.  good luck I hope you get some help soon .  

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Moh, 

    I can sense the anxiety in your message - being a veteran of that myself. Firstly, you have started the ball rolling now re investigation for dysphagia, so you have to show due diligence to that and see it through. It is a healthy thing to do.

    Over the years I have learned that Stress and Anxiety can cause virtually any symptoms, some of which are psychosomatic, some of which are physical representations of that stress. These include swallowing and other gastro issues. As an example we all know that sudden bad news etc can cause involuntary nausea and vomiting, and many people suffer from IBS an the like, that are considered to be emotionally linked. I read that panic attacks are linked to the fight and flight response, and that normally involuntary functions like swallowing, bladder, bowel control are naturally effected if this response kicks in. There are plenty of forums etc talking about these kind of links.

    Achalasia only occurs in about 1/100,000 people, so the chances that you have this condition are very slim. You are at an age where anxiety can be at its worst. I know it was for me. I think it comes with trying to define ones life; which is a philosophical nightmare lol smile and full of paradoxes. One thing I did start to understand is, that most people with bad anxiety actually love and value life more than most, which is why they fear losing it. There are plenty of people out there that suffer from deep depression and a loss of appetite for life; I know which of these I would prefer. My heart goes out to them. 

    If you think your symtpoms could be acid related, then exercise (cardio) and diet are the first port of call. I know people that turned their gastro issues around this way.

    Good luck with your continued investigation into your swallowing, taking an objective view will help you feel positive.. You are in the right place for swallowing advice if you need it ....

    Healthy karma, and enjoy your day smile 

    N     

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    • Posted

      “AchalAsia is a serious disease and more common than you think and “does not always show on endoscopy” I’ve been through it .  Only on mamometry and doctors don’t do it unless u ask bc they don’t know the disease 

      Doctors will try and tell u it’s phycosamatic none sense 

      I had to see 3 diff gastro to finally get help after years of regurgitation and pain eating and drinking 

      “If you have Achalasis and don’t get surgery or treatment the oseohagus stretches so much it could eventually need removal “

      I would rather know before it gets to end stage and it’s too late for treatment ! Wouldn’t u ??

      “Of course like any disease stress makes it worse but if he can’t eat there’s a big issue “

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    • Posted

      I agree.   It is also the case that young people are sometimes mis-diagnosed with eating disorders when they really WANT to eat, but cannot manage this properly because of achalasia.   

      The figure of 1 per 100,000 people is correct, but that relates to the number of people diagnosed each year (incidence).   So the number of people suffering with it (prevalence) is much more than that because some people will still be suffering after being diagnosed some years previously.   The number of people affected in Britain is around 6,000.

      It is important to get the best definitive treatment as soon as you can, because if it develops for a long period untreated, the oesophagus can indeed get big, baggy and unresponsive to treatment.

      Regardless of the medical or surgical treatments, reducing tension and anxiety will always be helpful.

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  • Posted

    I think it is jumping quite a bit to think of achalasia at this stage.   It sounds like the food is sticking around the back of your throat, rather than in your chest immediately above your diaphragm?   There are lots of causes of swallowing difficulties, an achalasia is one of the rare causes.

    So I think I would concentrate on undertaking some form of relaxation therapy, if you can.   I know it is easier said than done, but tension and anxiety can make swallowing more difficult.   In due course the endoscopy should reveal whether there is anything physical causing the blockage.   It is possible that they may give you a barium swallow test as well.   So the tests will be helpful in working out a diagnosis.

    I do not think it is 'all in your head', but it would also be true that relaxation to avoid tension and anxiety would help, regardless of whether there is another cause of your troubles.

    I hope it gets better soon.

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  • Posted

    Hi All,

    Thank you for your input. Much appreciated.

    So on Friday night my breathing started playing up and I was taking shallow breathes and it also felt like my back of throat had something stuck in there.

    Went to ER, they performed an x-ray of my neck and found nothing. Then proceeded to do a lanronscopy ( camera up the nose and into the throat area) and found nothing but thrush. So tell me is this all now really in my head? Since that day i still feel good stuck in my throat but the scope went as far down as checking the areas were I feel like somethings stuck and they found nothing. I am baffled.

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    • Posted

      If you have thrush / candidiasis, you really do need medication to help, and it might be that this has been partly or mainly the cause of discomfort (and worse).

       

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