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Swallowing/digestion problems....

Does anyone have problems with food going down?

I swallow ok, but as soon as the food/liquid is swallowed it seems to stop and then moves really slowly down into my stomach. I get a lot of pain as it is moving down which is sometimes just an annoying niggle, but sometimes is excruciatingly painful (as if my whole oesophagus has one into a massive spasm). This evening I haven’t even been able to swallow with nothing my mouth (ie just saliva) as it is so painful.

I have a constant feeling as if there is food stuck right at the top of my oesophagus, and it is here that the pain starts when I swallow, before spreading further down my oesophagus, sometimes spreading right across my ribs under my bra line. The pain is also in my back.

I did go and see my GP about this, and am on the last week of a 4 week course of anti-acid/reflux tablets to rule out an acid problem first. These have done nothing to stop the pain or the feeling of food being stuck, but have relieved the occasional burning feeling in my throat.

This definitely feels like it’s a ‘mechanical’ problem…as if the oesophagus is squeezing inefficiently when it needs to be, and too much when it doesn’t need to be (I get a lot of pain when I haven’t eaten too).

I’m really scared this is something serious, but as it feels mechanical I was wondering if it could be neurologically based - as if the messages are getting mixed up as to what the oesophagus should be doing.

I hope this makes some kind of sense to someone. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced this sort of thing and it has turned out to be neurological.

Oh yes, I also have nodules on my thyroid, but my endo assures me they are not causing any of my current symptoms, despite the largest one having grown over 1cm in 6 months (had biopsy taken last week).

Any advice, reassurance etc would be really appreciated as am sat here scared to swallow as it hurts so much.

Thank you xxx

Can Anyone help?

When I started experiencing swallowing difficulty it almost felt like my throat was stuck together. My GP referred me to a speech therapist who listened to my throat whilst I chewed and swallowed a biscuit, and this confirmed that I had indeed got Dysphagia caused by the MS. She left me an information pack and gave me tips on what to eat and how to swallow better. I would suggest that you ask your GP for referral to a speech therapist.

Good Luck

JC

Hi JC

Thank for your replly. I’m really sorry you have this problem, but at least your GP was on the ball and referred you on to someone who could help you.

I am not dx with MS, but do have many neurological symptoms, so have no idea if this is of neuro origin or not. I’m seeing my GP again on Friday, and have a sneaking suspicion I will be leaving there with a referral for an endoscopy (eurrgh!).

He did mention something about oesophagal spasms last time I saw him, and this is what it feels like, but I have no idea how this is officially diagnosed or treated. Oh joy!

I am also now feeling a kind of tight/full feeling in my throat, and am wondering if it is, indeed, the thyroid nodule starting to make its presence known. Once again, joy!

Ah well, medical appointments are the only time I leave the house these days, so at least I won’t be bored for the forseeable future!!!

Just a quick update on this…saw GP again today as have come to the end of the anti-acid/reflux tablets and am still having the symptoms.

He thinks this is oesophagal spasms and gave me a choice of a referral for lots of tests where they measure the diameter of your oesophagus etc (yuk), or a month’s course of tablets that stop spasms to see if they work. I opted for the tablets first, which he felt was the best course of action.

Am really hoping they work as am fed up with the symptoms.

I am sure we will all keep our fingers crossed for you that you get to the bottom of the problem without too many tests and treatments. JC

Just a quick up-date on this…took the medication for a month and the symptoms were 95% better.

GP said this more or less confirms it is oesophageal spasms.

However, he is not happy about me being on this medication long-term, so told me to halve the dose to see if that still keeps the symptoms under control.

Unfortunately, the symptoms have returned since I have halved the dose. I’m gutted, as I had forgotten how much the pain and discomfort was affecting me.

GP did say if the symptoms became unbearable I could double the dose again, but I am trying to stick it out on the lower dose for as long as possible.

At least I know what it is. They are quite rare, apparently.

I do find it interesting that the most likey cause is neurological.

Hmmmmm…