Swallowing and choking on food and saliva

Hi Guys I spent some time in this forum last year awaiting diagnosis. My MRI’s of brain and c spine were clear and I went on to receive a diagnosis of probable Behcet. I have popped back to get some advice as I am suffering with swallowing/choking on food and drink even to the point of choking on my own saliva at night. These issues are not really common with Behcet so I cant really get advice through our own forums. The SALT therapy have reviewed me and given advice and warned me against the dangers of aspiration pneumonia but i just wondered if you had any tips or advice to help me as it really unpleasant. Any tips? As youa re such a helpful gang. Gill

Hi Gillian, you need to get a referal to a speech therapist hon. I know that sounds strange, but honestly they are the best people to help with swallowing and choking issues.

As for the choking on saliva at night, I’m sure I read somewhere about a drug that helps to dry the saliva at night to avoid that problem. See your GP.

For referal to speech therapist, see your GP or consultant.

Hope this helps. It’s a horrid problem and very scary, so hope you can get some help asap.

Pat x

I saw a apeech therapist because of this. She gave me some excersises to do (hold the tip of your tongue with your teeth and swallow) and told me what foods to avoid (dry crumbly foods are the worst). It has helped me immensely…I still get the occasional choke at night but nothing like it was.

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Thanks for answering guys, yes been three times to speech and language therapy and she gave me all the tips and scared me a bit with warnings about the dangers…with the last relapse it has got worse and like you Dave the choking at night it horrible. Pat I never thought about drugs so I will follow that up with the GP…and continue to practise the tip of tongue thing …(Its harder than it sounds, lol) thank you! xx

Gillian - Hi,

What you describe sounds like the sort of symptom that is associated with MS. lts very frightening and distressing. lt bothers me if l ever go out for a meal - l am always scared it is going to start - the choking. l sleep sat up in bed - propped up with lots of pillows. And l have a ventilator - which l can use if l get into a scary coughing/choking fit. My ‘gag’ reflex is also sensitive - especially at the dentists.

Such Fun!

Thx Spacejacket…I am generally so upbeat but this has reduced me to tears many times and my husband gets really upset for me. Its is awful when it happens in a restarant. I wonder do you mind me asking if you are RRMS Spacejacket ? This symptom first developed 10months ago but has come back with a recent relapse even worse. I am hoping it eases of a bit soon. Does the ventillator calm your breathing down if you become panicked by the choking?

Hi, l have had SPMS for 31yrs - mine has never been rrms. The ventilator does calm it down - so does breathing deeply into a paper bag - as in panic attacks. l have choked so badly - before now - that l have burst blood vessels in my eyes. So l do take care to eat small amounts and chew well. And the breathing lessons l learnt at yoga-class really help in all sorts of stressful occasions.

Hi gill my husband has problems with speech and swallowing food gets stuck and starts coughing fits they suggested speech therapist to look at problems swallowing and speech xxx julie

yes Julie. I’ve met with Speech and language thereapy (SALT) it is useful, but in the last few days I’ve started choking on my saliva in bed which is a new development and horrible. I would definitely get a referral for your husband and you can see there are a few tips on the post in regards of whether drugs can help and maybe try a ventilator. Its a really horrible symptom as I love food and beware that any alcohol relaxes the muscles even more so if I have a wee drink I do not eat…so no more boozy evenings at the curry house I’m afraid…i feel like a gremlin…(dont feed me after midnight) . I should maybe have put this post on the PP board as it seems to be associated with more progressive MS :frowning: xx


My mum has MS and has trouble choking. This has got considerably worse in the last year or so. I have been looking for a first aid course to help teach me how to deal with her chokes as it can be very serious sometimes. We cut her food up small but it still happens when she is talking or laughing. It can be very traumatic for everyone involved.

Does anyone know of a disabled first aid course in the UK? I spoke to the MS Society direct a few months ago who suggested we made contact with St Johns Ambulance and Red Cross first aid courses but once I spoke with them they were unable to offer me such specific training.

What do you guys do?

Thanks in advance.

Have you spoken to her GP and or MS nurse about seeing a speech therapist, they should also be able to advise on a first aid course.

Best wishes

Jan x

Hey, just a curiously passing by and have a related question, does anyone find themselves choking randomly on saliva and drinks at any given moment with no warning? Would this be ms related? I don’t get it at night or with food as people mention it above, could this possibly be the start of this terrifying symptom? I had my first and only episode when I was 22, and since have new little symptoms here and there. Wondering if it’s one to add to the list at my next appointment coming up. Thankyou