Can anyone who’s actually been diagnosed with swallowing problems which were determined to be “MS-related” describe what form they take please?
To give a bit of context, nose and throat have always been health “weak points” for me - ever since childhood, and well before MS.
I had constant colds and throat infections as a child, and even went into hospital to have my tonsils out (much more common then today), but returned home without it being done, after my Mum (who wouldn’t say boo to a goose) incurred the wrath of the consultant.
So I’m one of those people who always has the sniffles, is allergic to everything and nothing (no specific trigger ever noted), never knows if she has a cold, always throat clearing, sometimes treated for asthma, etc. etc.
Last week (not for the first time) I went to the doctor about a “throat infection” (but the previous time was ages ago). Lately I’ve been coughing even more than usual, I seem to have a constant tickle that never lets up, and some occasional wheezing. My throat, in my opinion, looks red on one side - but not the tonsil, just the area around it - I don’t know what that part’s called - I suppose just part of the soft palate. I have a slightly sore throat, but the itch is much worse than the soreness - if anything the pain’s a slight ache, but not continual, and I have a hoarse voice.
But the scariest thing is food has started getting stuck part way down - always the same side.
When it happens, I can neither swallow the stuck bit nor cough it up, although I can feel it there. If I drink lots and lots of water, it seems to eventually go, and I suppose I must have swallowed it, but often there’s still a sensation of something there for some time afterwards - possibly because it has actually scratched the passages, and I can feel the soreness rather than an actual obstruction.
I did tell the doctor about this. She had a look and did not think there was any infection - exactly what happened last time.
I did describe to her that I’ve always had throat problems, and so did not link it to the MS, but I’m beginning to wonder.
Looking back, I think vocal hoarseness started to become a more marked problem about 7-8 years ago. At least two to three years before diagnosis, but when I was beginning to feel noticeably ill in other ways. I remember where I was working at that time (I was seconded to a site away from home) and remember beginning to experience a throat problem in long meetings - particularly in rooms that were warm.
Anyway, the food getting stuck thing has happened again today, and was quite frightening. To be fair, I don’t at any point fear I can’t breathe - my airway seems unobstructed - but the scary thing is the feeling of the obstruction being stuck there, and won’t go either way. I’ve started to feel slightly nervous about eating, in case it happens again, but I know I have to eat.
I was offered a referral for an endoscopy, but the doctor felt that in view of the timescales (very long-term throat issues, and not sudden), it was unlikely to be anything dangerous, so given my severe hospital anxiety, she considered it would be an “elective procedure”, but not something that would be really dangerous if left.
So ball back in my court, and don’t know what to do. I know I would be very nervous about the endoscopy, particularly if they insist on passing it through the nose, and can’t go down my throat. I don’t know why one’s more scary than the other - I suppose it’s normal to have stuff going down your throat (even if not usually a camera!) so that is slightly less disconcerting than the idea of it being shoved up your nose.
I’m depressed by the ongoing cough and hoarse voice, and scared by the swallowing episodes, but equally can see the doctor’s logic that if it began so long ago, it’s unlikely we’re talking malignancy. She didn’t put it in so many words, but I probably wouldn’t be here, and certainly not with as few problems as I’ve had, if cancer began years ago.
But I wonder if I’ve been wrong to assume it couldn’t be the MS? I know I should keep away from Dr. Google, and I’d advise others to do the same, but there seems a reasonable possibility I’ve developed vocal nodules. Although most commonly associated with people who use their voices professionally - e.g. singers & teachers, an interesting thing that turned up is they can be the result of tight muscles. I have tight muscles every other damn place - why couldn’t they be in my throat?
Just wondered if anyone can relate to this as an MS thing, or if I was right originally, and it’s just years of allergies, throat infections, asthma, and generally being “prone to that kind of thing”?