I can't swallow food. Help!

Hi all, I really need some help and advice please,

Last week, my symptoms suddenly got a lot worse and now I’m having trouble swallowing food - I’ve never had this before. It just kind of stays there at the top of my throat. and I end up coughing it up into my mouth to have another go, or I can wash it down with water. It’s just taken me an age to get some lunch in me.

Has anyone got advice on what to do, what to eat etc? I’ve worked out that food has to be as sloppy as possible - scrambled eggs, that kind of thing - Otherwise I don’t have a chance.

Is this a passing thing? My last post was worrying about weight loss - This won’t help if it goes on for long will it? Should I go to see my GP? Is there something out there that can help me?

Thanks in advance,


I think you should see your gp if it goes on for long, I belive that speech therapy can sometimes help with swallowing problems.

If you can still manage liquids OK then perhaps you should buy some of those protein drinks/soups like complan or buid up from the chemist so that at least what you are managing to swallow is good nutrition.


my recent relapse has affected half my body-like a line has been drawn. half my mouth is ‘frozen’. been living on porridge daily!i am still unaware of what right side of mouth is doing. am desperate to sink teeth into baguette or similar-has lasted 6 weeks so far. sorry i dont have any answers-i am just waiting…

ellie x

Hi Dave,

I have had trouble swallowing on and off at times and it is a horrid symptom indeed and actually a potentially serious one. If your are coughing and choking in the attempt to get the food down you may run the risk of inhaling some food particles which can then cause a chest infection. It is actually really important to get this assessed as there are ways of dealing with it.

Your GP is the best starting point and they should refer you to a speech therapist aftyer having checked ypur lungs etc to make sure you haven’t already picked a infection. Speech therapists are trained in swallowing problems as well as in talking so don’t be surprised by this referral.

They will assess exactly what is happening to your mouth, tongue and throat when you swallow. You might need to have some special x-rays done to help clarify this. They may do some cool video x-rays of you eating different consistency foods and see how the muscles deal with it. It isn’t the nicest lunch they will serve you as it is barium meal in varying consistencies. So you might have to eat barium on toast, barium crackers, barium soup, barium juice etc Yum, yum

Then when the exact problems are identifed the speech therapist can help you to manage the problem. Just some simple tips which I have found helpful are to tip your chin down towards your chest when swallowing to help things go down. And if things do get stuck, stick your chin out and make a loud, “Aaaach aaach aaaach” noise and repeat several times. It helps prevent the violent coughing but clears the blockage quite effectively. Makes you look a right idiot though

But don’t leave it, do see your GP.

All the best,


Hi Dave,a friend of mine alerted me tto this post. I have permanant chewing and swallowing problems. I was thought to have MS but now I’m being investigated for neuro genetic disorders.

Yes you need to see your GP and you need referring to a speech/swallow therapist. There are various tests they can do. I had a barium swallow and videofluroscopy.

Belinda has given you lots of great advice.

I know exactly what you mean by food sitting and having to have another go. You have trouble initiating a swallow.

I eat with a teaspoon and only half fill the teaspoon. Stick to sloppy, soft foods for now and always try using gravy and sauces to help food go down. Take sips of drinks between mouthfulls to clear residual food.

Trouble swallowing and weight loss led to an urgent referral to me. GP’s always take it seriously and it maybe nothing to do with your MS.

I hope it’s just a short lived problem, but please get it checked out.

Jacqui x