Author Topic: Swallowing difficulty  (Read 2230 times)

Julie

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Swallowing difficulty
« on: June 01, 2012, 11:49:24 AM »
I've had problems swallowing for years. Had the heimlich done way back when, because a potato from potato salad got stuck. Really scared the beejeebers out of me..thought I was on my way out that day.   Haven't been able to get things down since.  No way, no how can I swallow even the tiniest of pills, or bread, or meat, or...or..

Today I had a barium swallow study. They asked me if I had had a stroke???....because my tongue muscles in the back appear to be in a weakened state and my epiglottis flap isn't opening and closing properly. You could see on the film where the food was getting stuck.  Also, they said I might want to consider dilating my esophagus because it looks like it's misshapen.  I had a scope years ago...the camera got stuck in there, and I had a horrific sore throat after that for 30 days.  Since then, I have developed problems with local anesthesias too, so...needless to say, I am very much NOT wanting any equipment put down my throat!

I know many of you also have swallowing difficulties.  The dry mouth and lack of saliva contributes to that for me, but on top of it, I have this throat issue too.   They asked me if I have any other neurological problems that I am aware of like parkinsons, M.S.  etc.  They are going to refer me for a neuro eval.

What neuro complications do some of you have that you can relate to in this sort of way?

Thanks
Julie

jazzlover

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 04:05:32 PM »
I'm so sorry. Sounds like a really terrible problem. How are you getting nutrients?
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irish

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 05:29:49 PM »
I have myasthenia gravis that is most likely the prime candidate for my issues, but sjogrens can cause this also.

I have problems with the back of my throat also and my tongue doesn't propel food like it should to initiate a swallow. I also have an epiglottis that doesn't close like it should. They let hubby and I watch my swallowing video and it was rather interesting.

I would advise you to have the neuro eval. I have been on the IVIG and I find that my swallowing issues arne't as bad as they were. I still have to be careful cause I have days and times when I am worse. Lettuce can really tear me up as those little pieces get stuck in my throat and I am hacking and coughing them for hours.

I had swallowing rehab and it was worthwhile. I was taught to drink with a straw and to turn my head to the side like I am looking over my should when I swallow. This really works well. I have to take all my pills with pudding and even then I will have to look over my shoulder at times to swallow.

I have had to dilatations of my esophagus and that helped. I am wondering what kind of anesthesia you had that caused you problems. If you happen to have an undiagnosed case of myasthenia gravis you can have an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

The anesthesias will cause paralysis which can interefere with your breathing, etc. My docs are very good about watching what they use when they put me to sleep for anything. When I had my salivary gland removed a couple of years ago they were able to do that surgery with just the IV drugs that are used to the colonoscopy, etc. Darn, my mind went blank. Oh, Versed and Fentyanl.

I have one hospital that I go to all the times as the anesthesia people are very good with me. Before they found out I had myasthenia though I had nasal surgery and had a heck of a time coming out of that anesthesia.  Good luck with this. Irish

AAACGRL

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 07:09:56 PM »
Julie-so sorry to hear you have all this going on. I have GERD and I have to go see a Gastro in a couple weeks and go for a Barium Swallow w/ Tablet and an endoscopy after. I feel like there is food left in my esophagus that just hangs out for awhile. Then at night I get pain and back pain with a lot of belching. I am so ready to go see this doctor. I went to one earlier but he was so nasty he didn't want to hear about an "empty diagnosis like Sjogrens". So no way was I going to go through all this with him. I can say if I eat breads or anything dry there just isn't enough saliva to help break it down and that makes it harder to swallow.
But I do wonder how much of this is Sjogrens, GERD and/or neurological.  Keep us posted!

eyeamdry

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 10:53:39 PM »
As my throat (mouth) gets more dry, I do have problems swallowing.  One example is going to a graduation party 200 miles from home.  I took a bite of a baby carrot and chewed, swallowed and got this chewed dry-ish carrot in my throat and ended up inhaling one tiny sliver into my lung.  After an hour, I was still coughing and then wheezing.  I knew something was very wrong and we went to ET.  They had to call in their Pulmonary Team (!) and do an endoscope and reach down my throat and into my lung to grab this little bugger.  I was fine after he got it out.  We are going to 3 graduation parties in the next 3 weeks and I'm already scared to eat anything.  Carrots are bad for me to try and swallow and I now will not eat unless they are in some sort of other moist food.  This is something that I am very afraid will happen again.  Lucy

irish

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 12:13:35 AM »
Lucy, I swear that raw carrots are about the hardest thing to swallow that there is. I take a lot of sips when I eat. I also make sure that my meat always has something sloppy on it like a gravy, catsup, etc. Dry hamburger really does me in.

I have to admit though that my swallowing seems better since I have been on this IVIG.

I was surprised to note that last week I was fixing cauliflower and I nibbled away on the raw pieces and really they went down quite well. Other times I know that food is laying somewhere down the line and I cough and cough until I get it up.

One thing I have learned along the way is when I have something that is sort of stuck in my craw I take a spoon of peanut butter, chocolate candy or a few bites of ice cream. All of these foods tend to grab hold of a stuck piece of food and drag it down the throat. It usually takes sipping on liquids too but eventually things improve. Good luck Irish

wendyoh

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 07:44:13 AM »
I have issues with this as well and agree carrots are the worst.  I just will not eat raw carrots anymore.  I have gravitated towards soft foods over the years to accomodate, smoothies and cereal and soup.....
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eyeamdry

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 12:55:25 PM »
I should be wary of raw food, veggies etc.  If I can inhale one piece of carrot into my lung, I could do the same thing again, or broccoli or whatever.  I have 4 graduations to go to this summer and I think I'll stay away from raw carrots and possibly all raw food. 

Having something in your lung is not like having something stuck in your throat.  If it's in the lung it will not come out.  At least mine didn't and it was so small.  I whooped, choked, coughed and everything I could think of, and everybody else could think of.  It was a learning exp though.  If coughing for a couple of hours doesn't do it, better go to ER. 
Lucy

wendyoh

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 01:14:34 PM »
the lungs and er part sounds like a super drag, sorry
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gold55

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 02:27:28 PM »
I choke a lot more than I ever did on things like watermelon and cantalope (soft and juicy)....don't understand if parts are going down the wrong pipe but when it happens I cough and cough and gasp for air and my chest burns like fire!!!  It's scarey too when you're alone and no one is there to smack you on the back.  Of course my husband is hard of hearing so I've almost choked to death when he's been home >:(   Does anyone else choke on soft or hard stuff more than they did before??  I'm assuming it's got to do with dryness or the muscle for swallowing......heaven help me if I'm getting MG like my Mom!! 
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wendyoh

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 03:53:31 PM »
I actually got it with watermelon too the other day, doesnt seem like that would be bad
I have been trying  a very low dose of gabapentin for neuro pain and headaches and it increases my swallowing difficulties, i think it must relax the muscles more perhaps  and body parts don't work as efficiently then i also sometimes feel short of breath on it, but it helps prevent the headaches so 6 of one halfdozen sorta thing sigh

but I have been coughing and choking more with it, was doing pretty well before that with avoiding certain foods but now more beneign foods causing the problem too
I also have cervical stenosis and GERD and i think having narrow passage ways plus reflux etc all of that conspires together to make ya more vulnerable
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jazzlover

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 04:55:30 PM »
gold55:

Google "Heimlich manuever"... You can learn to do it on yourself! Everyone needs to know what to do if choking while alone.
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Patze

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2012, 06:38:31 PM »
Sorry to hear about your swallowing problems Julie, and I hope that your doctors can figure it out soon.

I'm with ya Gold, sometimes I can choke on a liquid drink and other days, it can be a piece of a vegetable of one sort or another.  Does it fell like your muscles just aren't working right?  Very weird feeling.


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Julie

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2012, 03:04:22 PM »
Thanks for the replies, everyone.  I lost track of this conversation and just remembered today that I had started it, so I had to search to find it again.

Went  to the GI doc today.  I was surprised they sent me there first. Was expecting the neuro eval, not GI. Was shaking in my boots because I knew he'd want to do the dreaded scope down the throat.

He said that is probably in the not so distant future, but he is first sending me to have an electrical stimulation test of my esophagus because he thinks it's more of a dismotility issue.  Of which he added, "if that's the case, there's really nothing we can do.."   :-( 

I've Googled this stimulation test and am not finding much about it.  I assume it's like a nerve conduction test where they ZAP you repeatedly. I've never had one of those, but people that have...say it's not pleasant. 

After that, it will probably be a PH study..putting some object down my esophagus for 48 hours???  I just got reading that they insert it through the nose and into the esophagus??  Anyone had this done?  Feedback?

Irish - I forgot that you have Myasthenia Gravis.  How do they check for that??  I've been asked repeatedly over the years if I might have Scleroderma, but never Myasthenia Gravis.  My Ex brother in law suffered greatly from that though, BUT has been doing miraculously these last several years after having his thymus removed.  No more eating issues, no more double vision, or drooping eyelids. 

Thanks everyone for all your help.

Julie

shellthebell

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Re: Swallowing difficulty
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2012, 05:25:52 PM »
I have read that SS can have an affect on the cranial nerves. One of my first symptoms was a right side facial palsy, I still have trouble swallowing.  This article can give more information.

 http://ard.bmj.com/content/60/7/724.full