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Old 02-11-2004, 11:18 AM   #1
Mara
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Unhappy What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

I'm hoping someone would be able to help me out and offer some insight as to what could be happening. This is one of those things when stepping back to get a better look is not helping me. I'm not sure where to post this, but here it goesÖ

I've been having trouble swallowing liquids & solids that causes me to choke and cough-cough-cough more often & since last summer. As I swallow the food and liquids ďgo down the wrong pipe" and cough repeatedly to rid it and re-swallow. I can't seem to prevent it, the throat (or whatever the anatomy responsible for it is) does not close properly, like itís weak and thatís what happens. It happens with small bites, drinking slowly, any texture it still goes down the wrong pipe. Itís almost daily now and am wondering if this can get worse. I remember some close calls for choking when the muscles were not working in collectively, like they are not strong enough to function properly. Is there a specialist that handles things like this? Does this fall under what a GI doctor treats?

It started last summer when I was having lunch with my folks & I had a hard time throughout the meal, trouble with small solids, then trouble drinking the water, not without choking on that, I kept choking. I cut that meal short because it kept going down the wrong pipe. My mom asked if I was okay, I said yes but continued to struggle, so I just cut it short to end it.

I donít think this is caused by dry mouth, because it's worse and happens whether I'm dry or not and while drinking liquids. Iíve noticed the anatomy (whatever they are called) that prevents aspiration in the first place is not working as it should because the throat flap, whatever it is, is not closing/shutting properly. Sometimes I think itís a combination of going down the wrong pipe and muscle weakness because the swallowing action is faulty. Muscles to the right or left of the neck do contract here and there. Iím not sure if that has anything to do with this.

I donít understand whatís happening. Does this sound Familiar. I have no clue how to remedy this.

Ps; Lately, Iím having either a gravel or bladder problem for the last 4 days and counting (thatís what Iím thinking it is). There is pain both sides of lower abdomen (below, right & left of navel) that comes & goes, bladder feeling full and swollen since it began, frequent urination with urge, pain in the lower left side of back last night, no fever, negative home test for protein & nitrate (for UTI). Within the last two weeks; urine appears normal; yellow to clear is frequent and may be sweet. Saliva has been sweet like sugar and can last hours or the day, tapering back to normal. Two times it was slightly salty. I stopped using sweeteners. About a month ago, before I had any symptoms of a urinary problem the urine color was unmistakably deep, clear bright orange. That happened once before but was caused by medication I took (which was an expected result).

Something like this happened last March (except there was no back pain, sweet saliva or sweet smell to urine). The doctor at the time said the urine showed no infection & did not send this out to a labÖI guess I did not complain enough.

Muscles by the sternum have been tightening & have been having thoracic back pain on and off for a few days (never had upper back pain before this) on and off at the same time. Over a wk ago had sudden, brief piercing pain that went from the front of the chest directly through to the back while washing dishes.


I stopped taking the cal/mag because I think I may have taken too much (3x daily for several days to calm the excessive muscle contractions that were happening). I had a second cup of coffee an hour ago and suddenly felt sick to my stomach and thought I was going to vomit. I thought the fat from the milk was getting to me, then subsided. Can gravel or a kidney stone make you feel nausea? Could that be gal? How long can it take to pass gravel? Iím sorry this is long but am hoping someone can help me out. Thanks.

 
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Old 02-13-2004, 10:07 AM   #2
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Katie G HB UserKatie G HB User
Smile Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

Hi there - so sorry for your troubles. First, please go see your doctor - your episodes of choking/coughing are too numerous to be disregarded. Second, I'm a certified speech-language pathologist who has performed many videofluoroscopies through my career for people having trouble swallowing. This is an X-ray involving barium in which you will be asked to take small sips/bites of food coated with barium and an X-ray will be done while you are swallowing. The speech therapist can then find out what is happening when you swallow, and determine the best mode of treatment for you. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS AN UPPER GI, so do not let your doctor call it that if you are referred. Another name for videoflouroscopy is modifed barium swallow, since much smaller amounts of barium are used than for an upper GI. The speech therapist will also want to get an extensive background medical history from you including how long the problem has been occurring. It could be caused by something structurally wrong or a problem with tne nerves leading to and triggering the swallowing mechanism.

Please consider going to the doctor. This sounds like a serious problem that needs medical attention.

Katie G

Last edited by moderator4; 02-13-2004 at 01:03 PM.

 
Old 03-11-2004, 11:53 AM   #3
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AUadamsfly HB User
Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

Are you still having the problem? Have you been to see the doctor and found out what the problem is?

 
Old 03-13-2004, 07:29 AM   #4
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girlygirly HB User
Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

Have you had your thyroid tested? A swollen thyroid gland (goiter) can cause you have the feeling of things getting stuck. It can also cause digestion problems.

Last edited by girlygirly; 03-14-2004 at 12:31 PM.

 
Old 03-14-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
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californiasunflower HB User
Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

HI Gemi,

Are you also having any respiratory problems? Runny nose? Nose bleeds? Had a respiratory infection that did not respond to medications? Feel fatigued?

An ENT, (ear, nose, throat) is the specialist. And there are conditions that this is a symptom (throat as well as kidney & bladder) of but... go to the ENT and list ALL of your symptoms. Have you had an ANCA lab test?

Last edited by californiasunflower; 03-14-2004 at 12:14 PM.

 
Old 03-16-2004, 12:38 PM   #6
Mara
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Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

Hi everybody and thanks for the suggestions. The choking episodes have lessened and the bladder, kidney discomfort subsided. It seems to come in waves, it gets better then worse and I don't know why it's happening but does not seem to go away for good. Too many muscle things are going on to list, even sphincter problems! It's hard to talk about. I'm confused and wondering if itís part of the fibro but it does not go away. Has anyone heard of a spasm happening of the rectum internally? It felt like the full length of it was in spasm. That was a new one. That was happening the same time two sphincters were ďmalfunctioningĒ. Itís like the normal tension thatís there sputters that happen quickly and when it does there could be leaking. It has not happened yet but have felt on the verge of dribble. I hate talking about this. When it happens to the anal sphincter I have the same sensation. The muscle ďflutteringĒ that if that continued, I would think I could lose my bowel but that sensation has still been rapid. If it slowed down I could see that happening. I donít doubt this sounds crazy but this happens and who am I supposed to tell? What am I supposed to say? hey doc my sphincters are misfiring? This rectum spasm/pain happened last week, it was painful and there wasnít a thing I could do for it. It lasted for hours along with a feeling of constipation. What a mess, I took my cal mag, enema, citrate trying to feel better but it was not that.

This weekend was something else. When I woke up Sunday the vision/image when I opened my eyes immediately, the image of the left eye was "shaking" and it took a few minutes for that to go away, and was unsettling because of how long it lasted. I did not physically feel motion or movement of the eyeball at all, it looked like fast shifting right to left of what I was looking at while the right eyeís vision was normal. I kept blinking my eyelids hoping it would stop and eventually it did.
The occipital headaches are back these last few days (right under where the skull comes down/ends to neck) up in there. The first occipital pain was in !2002 so I went back to the rheumy because it was a new type of headache for me. Anyway, this type is back & hurting the last few nights and at the same time I'd get pains in the right eyeball, like a pulse pain. It hurt to use a pillow or prop up the head/neck, I had to lay flat. My right trap muscle was in spasm over the weekend too. I used ointments, a heating pad, deep tissue massage, gentle stretch, rom, pulse shower, NSAIDís it took a vigilance to keep that in check. What a mess. I feel like I'm not in control of what happens in my body and it's disturbing. I had brief esotropia (thatís what the eye doctor called it) in the left eye in December (talk about a muscle pull). I went to the ER in mid Feb because of the severe thoracic (new for me) and center pain, they said it was pleurisy (but my labs and exray was normal). It was not cardiac and that was a relief but it is not going away so I have an appointment this Monday to see the pulmonologist (the ER doctor told me to follow up with one).

I remember how many specialists I had to see and it was helpful but how many does it take to take care of one person??? I have been hoping I would get better and be better with taking care of myself. I remember a couple of months ago I waited hours to see a doctor for the pain and spasm in the foot (that had been with me for some time) and was hoping they could give the foot an injection a pain patch, something to help me out. The doctor said I would need an ortho to do that and she was limited, she said rule out stress fracture, but she could not order the exray (they had facility on cite) and told me it could be the fibro and that the medications need review. I was so upset and left there with tears streaming down my face, thinking it's hopeless and useless going to doctors, limping just as I did when I walked . I'm crying now thinking about out the same as I was when I walked in. I tried to control it but the tears would not stop. The girl saw it and asked whats wrong, I said, I come here in pain and leave herein pain and nobody is helping me. I asked for the change from my copay so I could get out of there then lose it. I spent money and time to see someone and to have them tell me the ortho is on vacation for the next two weeks etc. I ask myself, why am I spending money to have her tell me she is not qualified to give a shot? I wanted my money back. I went to a foot doctor (plantar problems) sp and that would take follow up upon follow up, trying to get a night splint for my feet (expensive), I go for my foot and he tells me I need pt for my shoulder impingement and talks about carpal tunnel, more then I ever want to know because it means more restriction.

AUadamsfly, I will need to go to have the GI things done like Katie suggested to get to the bottom of it if they can or if they will. First doc is the pulmonologist, breathing first, swallowing next, maybe they are tied in. Will see what he says.

Girlygirly, I had my thyroid checked a few years ago after the neuro found the first abnormal tsh lab and the endocrinologist said after tests, labs, iodine uptake, I was hyperthyroid, with mild intermittent graves (comes and goes, labs normal then suppressed like a yo-you. He put me on Tapazol for a year. Things quieted but in the last year or so My T3 has been elevated consistantly and the t4 was up before the t3. I know what your saying because when he palpated the thyroid gland he noted enlarged on the right. I remember on occasion a full feeling in the throat when I swallowed. Back then when the thyroid was sputtering but this time it's different, there is distinct lack of muscle coordination when I swallow, and it goes down the wrong pipe, different from the lump in the throat feeling. It's like the muscles are not cooperating. I don't know how else to describe it.

Californiasunflower, I have been having respiratory problems that started around December (brief) then turned into pleurisy pain (according to one doc but the tests and exrays she ran were normal, she said the sed lab is pending) also feels like asthma so I'm seeing a pulmonologist this Monday because of a second relapse, attack whatever you want to call it. Iím taking the medicines and wrap a wide ace around the chest and that does make a difference. I thought it would go away and heal but it's back, so I have to go. I've been to ent's before in the past before any swallowing problems started. If I saw an ENT for the throat problem would they shuttle me to a doctor for kidney and bladder? Or would they know what to do? The one thing I noticed is when the bladder felt better the swallowing had improved, I donít know if itís coincidence but have a feeling itís not. Does that make any sense at all? I never had an ANCA lab test. Does a person have to be in a flare to have the test show something or would it show something when not in a flare? Thanks for listeningÖ

Last edited by Gemi; 03-16-2004 at 03:20 PM. Reason: to correct a date

 
Old 03-31-2004, 11:18 AM   #7
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californiasunflower HB User
Re: What causes choking, not being able to swallow?

First doc is the pulmonologist, breathing first, swallowing next, maybe they are tied in. Will see what he says

Californiasunflower, I have been having respiratory problems that started around December (brief) then turned into pleurisy pain (according to one doc but the tests and exrays she ran were normal, she said the sed lab is pending) also feels like asthma so I'm seeing a pulmonologist this Monday because of a second relapse, attack whatever you want to call it. Iím taking the medicines and wrap a wide ace around the chest and that does make a difference. I thought it would go away and heal but it's back, so I have to go. I've been to ent's before in the past before any swallowing problems started. If I saw an ENT for the throat problem would they shuttle me to a doctor for kidney and bladder? Or would they know what to do? The one thing I noticed is when the bladder felt better the swallowing had improved, I donít know if itís coincidence but have a feeling itís not. Does that make any sense at all? I never had an ANCA lab test. Does a person have to be in a flare to have the test show something or would it show something when not in a flare? Thanks for listeningÖ

**************************************** ******************

Hey Sweetie, you've been through a lot and I hope you get some answers right away.

I believe that the swallowing and breathing can be tied together as well as all the other symptoms (bladder/kidney) you've been experiencing. Have your doctor perform an ANCA test to determine what is going on with you (rule out Wegener's). I'm not sure if you have to be flared up. My doc did this test for same, that's how I learned about it.

Take care. Sending lots of hugs!

 
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