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Old 07-09-2003, 12:00 PM   #1
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Unhappy Very scared. Cant swallow food.

I am very frightened.
About 5 weeks ago I started to get a feeling of a lump in my upper throat from time to time.
About 2 weeks ago, i started to get this feeling further down, sort of behind my sternum and a feeling of food getting stuck and very slowly moving - which caused a panic attack. I had been pretty stressed at the time and had a job interview - i thought when this was over it would pass and put it down to anxiety but it didnt go.
I went to the doctor 1 week ago and he put me on Nexium which I have took, i also had some bloods(ok) and a chest xray that "looked ok" but needed "reporting on by the radiologist"
Over the past few days, though, I feel like everything I eat is getting stuck, it is causing panic and I went to the doctors again who has arranged a oesophagoscopy for in five days and an urgent ENT referal. I have just had fluids for the past 3 days.
I am scared to death, am planning my funeral because I am so scared I am dying. I have a five yr old daughter.
I have lost weight and am so frightened. I am 31.

 
Old 07-09-2003, 12:30 PM   #2
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Hi there - don't plan your funeral yet - it's not definite that what you have is fatal. And the more you stress over it, the more you will notice the symptoms.

You may have a stricture of the esophagus or motility problems of the esophagus - both which can cause the sensations you're having. The stricture can be diagnosed by endoscopy and the motility can be assessed via an upper GI or barium swallow. Rather than an ENT, you might want to consider referral to a gastrointestinal (GI) doc. At least that's what they're called in the States.

Please, please, please never give up without knowing what you're dealing with. Many people on this board may have been convinced they were dying only to find out their problem was easily solved.

I'm praying for you to have strength and serenity,
Katie G

 
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:58 PM   #3
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I had this problem at one time. It came on very quickly, within a matter of hours and I could barely get liquids down. It turned out to be thrush (a yeast infection) caused by antibiotics, which burned a hole in my esophagus. Oral medication helped immediately. It was really very minor compared to how frightening it was!

 
Old 07-14-2003, 03:50 PM   #4
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throat and swallowing problems can sometimes be caused by anxiety effecting the muscles, valium relaxes them for a while
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:02 PM   #5
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hry33, do you happen to know if all anti-anxiety medications have muscle relaxing properties like Valium? I was hoping my throat problem was due to anxiety tensing up the throat, but when I took Xanax, it didn't help my symptoms.

 
Old 07-16-2003, 09:31 AM   #6
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Hello, I have been scoped and fortunatly it didnt show anything. They said that it is most likely stress which is causing oesophageal spasms and will just go in time. I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome also which is worsened by stress and I didnt realise that it can cause upper GI problems as well. I still have to have my barium meal(2nd one) but they dont seem worried. Thanks for replying to my post.

 
Old 07-16-2003, 11:09 AM   #7
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to
prostator, xanax should relax the muscles, but a larger dose may be needed, also xanax can be deactivated by hot storage, and its said there are fake tablets aroubnd that have no effect all
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Old 08-02-2003, 01:28 PM   #8
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SOUNDS LIKE AN ESOPHOGEAL STRICTURE TO ME. SEE A GASTROENTEROLOGIST AND GET TREATMENT.

 
Old 08-24-2003, 12:44 AM   #9
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Hi,
I know its scary because I've been there. My doctor says my dysphagia was caused by stress also. I was put on Celexa to calm me down and stop my anxiety because I became scared to eat at all for fear of choking. But what I can tell you is that I stopped taking the Celexa after 6 months because I felt I didn't need it for my stress. It didnt really make a difference. It DID go away - although once in awhile I still get an anxiety attack when I'm about to eat. I've found that having a glass of water or soda nearby when eating helps. take a few bites, wash it down with a drink. when you can overcome the stress of eating, it's a lot easier.. try to keep yourself busy - maybe eat while watching tv or reading something. talk with your family, anything that can cause distraction. just keep in your head that "This too shall pass."

 
Old 08-24-2003, 07:06 PM   #10
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I too am going through similar swallowing problems. I have lost about 23 pounds, have had a barium swallow, endoscopic test, ENT examination, esophageal motility test, chest x-ray, MRI and all are negative. I know I have GERD because I have the symptoms and I know that I do have anxiety because but it is due to the choking feeling I have been experiencing for the past 8 weeks. It is just so frustrating not being able to get a definitive diagnosis from the GI doctor. I have been taking Losec for 2 weeks now and don't feel any different. I too have been prescribed anti-anxiety medication (Atavan) to be taken prior to eating, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm just really glad I read your post, kimzi81, where you say "This too shall pass". I really needed to hear that tonight, because I am feeling really down. I am finding it hard to cope at home with my kids because I am so weak.

 
Old 08-24-2003, 11:53 PM   #11
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Hi NoFood,
Believe me, I know exactly what you are feeling. It's really hard to get information on the internet about this too. All my tests came out negative as well, and therefore the doctor could only tell me that it was because of the stress. Some people even told me it was just in my head (i wanted to kill those people) I also took Atavan - it did calm me down, but I can't say it helped much with the eating. I went into a deep depression because of the dysphagia, but one day I realized that it's not something you're going to die from! Just take it one day at a time. If you're having a particularly hard time eating, then just dont eat.. take a nap and try again later! Chewing my food and then taking gulps of water to get it down is what really helped me though. I notice you get full faster, but at least you get some nutrients in you. Also, take small bites of food - it's a lot easier to get down. I lived on milkshakes and smoothies (i don tknow if you have a jamba juice near you but that place is really good if you can get down liquids) by the way, are you taking any medication for your GERD? My doctor prescribed me ranitidine and it helped a lot for that. dont be discouraged! (i know thats easier said than done) Remember that your body is so powerful/strong that it can heal itself. It just takes some time. In the meantime, like i said, one day at a time. I hope this helped! If theres any other questions you have, or if u need to talk, you can write me! I wish I had someone to talk to when I was going through it =)

 
Old 08-25-2003, 07:38 AM   #12
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kimzi81, thank you so much for your advice -- it really does help hearing from someone who's been through this. I am taking Losec for my GERD but I don't see a difference in the way I feel. I am practically living on Boost, which is a nutritional meal replacement drink, although some days it doesn't go down as smoothly as others. I also have post-nasal drip which is how this whole problem started, at least I think it's post-nasal drip. I have an allergy appointment this week as well as some more testing to be done. I am so tired of being told this problem is due to my anxiety. I know I am an anxious person, but the symptoms with swallowing caused my anxiety over this.

 
Old 04-12-2006, 04:44 PM   #13
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Re: Very scared. Cant swallow food.

OMG, I think I have met my extended family, I too suffer from what you all talk about. I am 38 now and remember as a little kid not being able to swallow pieces of steak. Then as best as my memory serves I had no more problems as I grew up. Now, for the past several years, it has returned and I had several late night or early morning episodes about a month ago of waking up not able to swallow which in turn caused panic attacks and the feeling of not being able to breathe. A round of steroids and allergy pills at the ER seemed to help at the time. A follow up with my doc and a barium swallow revealed nothing. They said I could swallow a silver dollar although I wont try it. I do have a lot of nasal drainage down the back of my throat in the early morning hours which feels like it collects at the base of my throat. Causes alot of hacking and sometimes, throwing up. Gross but thats the way it is. I suffer from gastric reflux and although eating small pieces of solid food isnt a problem, I no longer have the urge to eat as every swallow is a major task that I have to force myself to do. Much easier to do with a gulp of water although after a half day a person tends to get sluggish from all the liquids and having to force yourself to swallow gets very tiring at times. Well thats my story and I hope it gives some hope that you all are not alone. Stress, Anxiety? who knows

Cat..

 
Old 04-15-2006, 10:32 AM   #14
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Re: Very scared. Cant swallow food.

I am a very confused person! I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for years. A few months ago I started to feel a lump in my throat when I ate anything solid (on swallowing). This would frighten the life out of me and inevitably make me panic. I ended up in the emergency department several times through it. I then got so scared of eating solids that I stuck to soups and thin milky cereals for a while. Then not only did I have the lump feeling but I also started to feel very very sick every time it came to put anything in my mouth. I found myself losing weight very very quickly and becoming very weak. I kept getting heartburn and difficulty in breathing. Then the chest pain got worse and radiated into other parts of my body (lung area, shoulderrs, neck and arms). My stomach started to feel hot all the time and the nausea was horrendous. My doc put me on suppliment drinks high in calories. I had a barium which came back negative although I have been put on tabs for GERD. I am on valium which seems to be more potent on the new meds and have been told to come off valium! Easier said than done as I use these for panic attacks and have been on them for years.
I am now waiting for an endoscopy but the fact that I have a history of anxiety/panic attacks makes me wonder if the symptoms are anxiety or physical related?? of course I hope the results of the endoscopy are fine but I remain confused. I wonder where did one thing start and another begin?
Any opinions appreciated.

 
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