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Has anyone experienced not being able to swallow - is it anxiety?

(78 Posts)
CakesRus3 Wed 23-Sep-20 09:47:26

I have always been a little bit uncle eating in front of people. Especially now single and dating. It rakes me a while to feel comfortable with eating out. However, I eventually overcome it. However, recently (past 6 months), I struggle to swallow my food. I have hardly eaten in the last few days as it's really bad. I feel I have lost the national sensation to swallow. It happens even when I'm not particularly nervous/anxious.

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onepot Wed 23-Sep-20 10:26:45

Anxiety can be a big factor. There can be other causes too. Ask for a referral to see a speech and language therapist.

Imnotaslimjim Wed 23-Sep-20 10:29:55

It could be anxiety or it could be something else such as silent reflux. Please go to your GP and ask for help.

Sleepinyourofficeinstead Wed 23-Sep-20 10:46:14

My DH found it increasingly difficult to swallow in around 2010. He initially thought stress, anxiety etc. Although those things may have made matters worse (like a negative cycle) it did have a physiological root cause. When that is treated, the anxiety is massively reduced.

He was diagnosed with adult onset oesophageal encephalitis (pretty rare) which is being managed with medication. He now eats unbearably slowly as well.

Speak to your GP and they can help work out the root cause. It's too important to ignore.

CakesRus3 Wed 23-Sep-20 11:12:17

Ok, thankyou. I have had difficulty breathing also for the last 6 months. GP is saying I'm too old for it to suddenly be asthma. Maybe my iron is low. Had bloods yesterday. Diagnosed with celiac disease a year ago. I'm wondering if all related. Just higher levels of stress/anxiety too.

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LindaEllen Wed 23-Sep-20 11:27:09

Anxiety can make things difficult, but it shouldn't be making it so bad I don't think. I struggle to swallow when I'm feeling anxious, in that I end up chewing the same bit of food for ages, but it doesn't feel like there's a physical issue.

Definitely see your GP about this one!

Elzbells Wed 23-Sep-20 16:01:30

I get something similar, it comes and goes. It's been about 20 years now. I think it's worse with stress for me.

I get this feeling like if I'm eating and go to swallow I suddenly have a mind block and for a few seconds feel like the food is stuck and I'm going to choke. Like I've forgotten the swallow command for a second.

I eat much more slowly now and don't really eat steak anymore as it's much worse with foods that require a lot of chewing.

But I can go years without it happening, definitely related to stress for me.

GoldfishParade Thu 01-Oct-20 14:53:13

I have had this continuously for 2 years. It's a complete fucking nightmare.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Thu 01-Oct-20 15:12:21

Could it be your thyroid or something? A swelling in your neck that’s making it hard to swallow and breathe. Sounds too serious to be fobbed off with maybes, but if they’re doing bloods hopefully that will show anything unusual to point them in the right direction. Sounds like you should be having some sort of X-ray or scan of the area though?

CakesRus3 Thu 01-Oct-20 15:44:10

Hiya, thanks for the messages. Had bloods. All came back satisfactory. GP thinks it's anxiety. It's strange as if a suck chocolate, I can swallow. When I eat small bites, it's in a certain position, I can sometimes swallow. It's awful really. I'm chewing some foods and having to spit it out. Sorry for detail.

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GoldfishParade Thu 01-Oct-20 16:06:52

I have also been sent for bloods, doing that on monday. Am also being sent for psychotherapy and recommended to have hypnotherapy.

I find it easier to swallow sweet things, no idea why as I don't have a sweet tooth...

Claire347 Thu 01-Oct-20 19:14:18

When you say you can’t swallow is it you feel like if you try to swallow you’re going to chock? If it is then it’s probably anxiety, try taking small bites and just chew them longer you will eventually swallow xx

Tadpolesandfroglets Thu 01-Oct-20 19:19:29

Yes. Have had exactly this. If I’m extremely anxious it always comes back. Horrible feeling and I’m sorry you are experiencing it. I have breathlessness too and feel like I can’t get enough air sometimes. I try to eat with lots of water. Fortunately it doesn’t last.

DominaShantotto Fri 02-Oct-20 16:31:15

There is a condition called globus hystericus. I don't know that much more about it than it's a psychological feeling of being unable to swallow that can build up to become a really big thing in some people's lives (I'm a student speech and language therapist but we're only just starting swallowing work now so I don't know much more than the general description of it).

Worth making a note of any times or things that make it better or worse - if it's worse when you're tired, if it's much worse when you're anxious, any types of food that you find worse or better. I've always found having that kind of a "diary" to hand with medical professionals makes them take it a bit more seriously and cuts down half of the "asking the same questions the other dozen guys have all asked' factor - and means they can't just fob you off by telling you to go away and complete a diary and come back later! (Can you tell I've got a child with SN and had to push through diagnosis for various things over time?)

CakesRus3 Sun 11-Oct-20 09:29:57

Thanks everyone.
It's just awful. Go is saying anxiety. I was expecting this as anxiety is something I'm struggling with currently. I have an On going respiratory issue too that they were saying was anxiety. However I wheeze at night time so after 7 months, I jave a referral to a respiratory specialist. Also enhalers. I think it's helped a little. So I haven't pushed with the swallowing issue as I have been with the breathing.
The swallowing is quite bad at the moment but anxiety has calmed down. I chew lots but for the first time yesterday choked on my food. It's like the swallow command has just disappeared. I just sucked on chocolate and drank tea yesterday after that. I tried to eat tea but chewed and spat it out. I can't eat with family as I can't. I'm now thinking how will I manage at work. I went for a coffee with a friend Friday and couldn't finish it. I can swallow tea at home.
I will start a diary, thankyou.

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CakesRus3 Sun 11-Oct-20 09:32:10

31DominaShantotto thanks, just googled. It's not a lump sensation. It's like my swallow command has gone.

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GoldfishParade Sun 11-Oct-20 09:36:57

Just wanted to tell you you're not alone. Same situation here. I have my first meeting with recommended psychotherapist tomorrow. I know this is awful flowers

CakesRus3 Sun 11-Oct-20 09:54:04

36GoldfishParade thankyou. It really is. Im sorry you are struggling too. What do you think has impacted on your difficulties? Oh ok, good luck. Could you please let me know how this goes? If you don't mind. I have been sucking on chocolate but not sure this is going to be good for me long term.

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GoldfishParade Sun 11-Oct-20 09:59:42

I'm not too sure how it works but mine started when I found myself basically living a lie. I think something in me kind of "froze" and then I developed the exact same problem as you. Its exactly as you describe, it's like my throat wont obey my brain telling it to swallow. It's a nightmare. Even minute mouthfuls are difficult. Weirdly I find sweet foods easier to deal with, and the reason that's weird is I dont have a sweet tooth.

I will report back tomorrow after my session but I'm just worried that this is so ingrained, I cant see how anyone can help. I do know that's the wrong attitude to take though and will be going in there with a "this will work" outlook.

GoldfishParade Sun 11-Oct-20 10:01:36

PS I find it easier to manage when I am eating with other people who are aware of the problem. Have you told anyone about it?

CakesRus3 Sun 11-Oct-20 10:10:30

01GoldfishParade Ah ok. I completely understand how you feel. I have been going through stress at work and one day I went in and it's like I froze too. However, I had been experiencing it slightly before this. Probably for the last 56 months. It's so much worse now. I have told a friend at work. My dd's know as they have seen me struggle. To the point I won't eat with them now as it's so noticeable. I noticed when I met my friend (twice now), I can't swallow the drink. The first time I choked was yesterday. I usually just about manage a small mouthful, somehow but yesterday just couldn't.
I really hope your session works tomorrow. It wou be great to hear some success stories. I worry it will last forever.
We went out for a meal in August for my dd's birthday. I just couldn't eat. Then people ask why. I feel so embarrassed by it. I can't eat out now. Not that I did much anyway. I worry about work too.

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GoldfishParade Sun 11-Oct-20 10:31:23

I'm sending you a massive hug. It feels like a very lonely place to be, and the worst thing is feeling like people must think you have an eating disorder. Let's keep in touch on this thread and see what happens. I discovered that my gran also had this problem, it started in her 40s. For years we thought she had heartburn, that's what she told us. She was too embarrassed to explain. It was only when I developed my issue and started talking about it that she opened up. Apparently she met a doctor who told her that he had the same thing. It can be reassuring to feel that maybe this is more common than we think.

If psychotherapy doesnt work I'm going to look into hypnotherapy too.

GADDay Sun 11-Oct-20 10:39:44

My DH has a condition called Achalasia.

Achalasia results from damage to nerves in the food tube (oesophagus), preventing the oesophagus from squeezing food into the stomach. It may be caused by an abnormal immune system response.

It took a LONG time and multiple tests, biopsies for a diagnosis. He had a treatment where they inject botox into the oesophagus but it didn't work. After 2 years of suffering the surgeon suggested a Hellers Myotomy - permanent surgical cut of oesophageal muscle. He had the surgery and it worked!!!

He suffers from gastric reflux as the sphincter doesn't do it's job. This is medicinally managed.

CakesRus3 Sun 11-Oct-20 10:53:18

31GoldfishParade thankyou, I'm sending one straight back. That's great, good luck.
It sounds like it is more common than I thought. People don't mention it maybe because they're embarrassed. U know I have been. I'm refusing to meet people now so that impacts on mood too.
Look forward to hearing from you on here after your session x

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BertieBotts Sun 11-Oct-20 10:57:22

I get this when I try to take tablets. It's like I simply can't remember how to make myself swallow. It's really frustrating just for that, so I can't imagine how annoying it would be for all foods!

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