Intermittent problems swallowing


I’ve been having intermittent problems swallowing for the past few years and I am unsure as to whether this is MS related, or something else. Before my CIS diagnosis I hadn’t even considered the swallowing related, but now that I’m having a relapse or something, I am finding myself over analysing everything and wondering if it’s a new symptom.

Over the past few years I have periods where I struggle swallowing food like meat and bread. Sandwiches are next to impossible for me to eat. When I eat I chew the food like normal then find the food is stuck halfway down my throat. It’s not blocking my airways, and it’s not gone down the wrong tube, it’s just sitting halfway down and not budging. Even drinking doesn’t shift it, and the liquid just sits on top of the blockage. I have to get up and walk around for the food to dislodge, or raising my hands in the air helps sometimes too.

As I said this doesn’t happen all the time, I think the last time it happened was in November 2015, I remember as I was away for work and in a lunch meeting. It’s been happening again this past couple of weeks.

I read swallowing issues can occur with MS, but my GP said that those types of issues are when food / drink goes down the wrong tube when swallowing, which isn’t happening for me. Am I over thinking things or does my issue sound MS related?



Hi Kedge,

I have just read your post with interest (not sure if that’s the right thing to say) as I too suffer from something similar in that where I swallow food (doesn’t matter what sort of food) and it doesn’t go down just seems to stay lodged. I end up either having to suddenly (as best I can) sit forward or stand up to help it move and I then usually have to have a drink of water but I must admit I have to try and stop myself from getting panicky over it.

This has been going on for a number of years now and I thought that it was just a case of food going down the wrong way. I have PPMS but tbh I have never associated it with this but actually now you’ve mentioned it I think that there might be something in it although I suppose we can all over think things so it will be interesting to see what other members of the forum say.

May I suggest that you perhaps see another Doctor to get their advice/opinion.

Take Care

Twinkle Toes x

Thanks Twinkle Toes

i find myself second guessing everything at the moment and seeing it as a new symptom. I have a Neurology appointment in 3 weeks so will ask him, don’t seem to get much luck with my GP recently. But It would be interesting to see if anyone else on the forums has experienced anything like this too.


When this happens put your chin to your chest a swallow this will ease the food through the blockage don’t drink on top of the blockage that will cause other issues.

Thanks I’ll give that a go next time it happens.

Hi Kedge,

Try not to do the second guessing everything, easier said than done I know but keep a note of things i.e. any new symptoms, when they happened, how often and for how long, was there anything else going on like we’re you feeling anxious or stressed about something, what about the weather as in was it hot or cold as this can also affect things.

That’s great that you’ve got a Neurology appointment soon (remember to take your notes with you and write down questions to ask whilst your there) make the most of your time with him. Also a good idea to take somebody with you if possible for support but also another set of ears as we don’t always take everything in.

Going back to what you were originally asking about problems with swallowing, well it got me thinking so I googled it and yes sure enough there is an MS symptom and it’s called Dysphagia - it’s true what they say about learning something new everyday. If you go on the MS Trust site and put in ‘swallowing’ it should bring up some useful information for your but definitely mention this at your appointment.

Take Care

Twinkle Toes x

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Hi Kedge,

I’ve been wondering how you’ve been getting on and if you’ve had any more problems with your swallowing?

I’ve recently had two episodes (or whatever you want to call them) with swallowing (or lack of) and ended up having a choking fit. The first one really frightened me as I was on my own at the time and I totally forgot about the advice that Drummer boy had given but I tried my best not to panic.

I’m waiting for an appointment with my MS Nurse which hopefully won’t be too long and I will be mentioning it to her and see what she says/suggests.

Twinkle Toes x

Hey Twinkle Toes,

I’ve had a couple more meal times where swallowing caused problems. I had fajitas with the family the other day and the combination of bread wraps, and meat filling seemed to be a perfect storm and I couldn’t swallow it at all. It got halfway down (so it wasn’t choking me or blocking breathing) but it wouldn’t go into the stomach. In the end I had to excuse myself and make myself throw up to get it out.

The second time was eating at a BBQ and it got stuck again, this time some walking around with my arms in the air dislodged it. (although I must have looked like a right wally).

Both times I tried the chin to my chest and it didn’t seem to help me.

I have a neurology appointment next week, so will be raising it with the neurologist then, will see what he says as to whether it’s MS related or something else. I’ll let you know what he says.


Hi Kedge,

Sorry to hear that you have had a couple more times that it’s happened. I’m starting to think that it doesn’t matter what we’re eating and it’s good that you tried what Drummer boy suggested but it’s shame it didn’t help you and hey who cares what you looked like trying to help yourself as long as it’s helping you.

It will be interesting to hear what is said to you at your appointment.

Take Care

Twinkle Toes x

saw the neurologist today, he didn’t think my swallowing issue sounded MS related, but is going to talk to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist for their thoughts.

Some foods as you are finding head for the perfect storm and it’s important to try not to panic when it happens I had an episode this morning with some toast, what I did in the early days was keep a diary of what I ate and when I couldn’t swallow which then gave me an idea of what to try and avoid, and it was all the stuff you always crave. I had a guy from e.n.t come out to the house he worked with the neuro team and he told me that it is common for people with ms to have this problem. Anyway you take care and keep swallowing ( as the actress said to the bishop) Sorry couldn’t resist that one lol



Thanks :smiley: that made me smile