Swallowing issues and throat stretching? - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

I have had a lot of issues in recent years where food gets caught in my throat and simply won't go down. It's not an "always" thing but it happens more regularly now. The doctor says this is caused by scar tissue and is remedied by a procedure that stretches the throat muscles. It requires sedation, which in my 47 years on this earth I've never done. Kind of nervous about that part.

The food will go down part of the way and just not go on down. Sometimes I can get it down with water, but often I'll have to go to the bathroom and get it UP. Needless to say, it's not a fun thing to go through. Now, this isn't choking. I can breathe fine during this. It just won't go down.

I was wondering if anyone here has had this issue or had this procedure!?


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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:47 AM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

@TX-SC

Have you had the swallowing test done? My wife had issues with swallowing. Felt like food getting stuck. The test involved drinking something that had marshmellows and radioactive tracer with xray. Forget the details but it was a legitimate test.

Was the test done? Are you seeing a gastroenterologist?

My wife also has scar tissue. Can you share why you do?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:51 AM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

My uncle has had this procedure done a couple of times. My FiL really needs to have it done. I suspect my dad should also. All have problems swallowing food without choking and have to be extremely careful when they eat.

The scar tissue is normally caused by untreated acid reflux.

It's a safety issue that can end up with you choking to death, depending on where in your throat the constriction is--I'd recommend having the procedure done and get yourself evaluated for acid reflux.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

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Originally Posted by blueinbr View Post
@TX-SC

Have you had the swallowing test done? My wife had issues with swallowing. Felt like food getting stuck. The test involved drinking something that had marshmellows and radioactive tracer with xray. Forget the details but it was a legitimate test.

Was the test done? Are you seeing a gastroenterologist?

My wife also has scar tissue. Can you share why you do?
I did visit a specialist but never had a swallowing test. He said this is somewhat common and that I should plan to have the procedure, so I made the appointment for next week. I think the scaring is related to acid reflux.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

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My uncle has had this procedure done a couple of times. My FiL really needs to have it done. I suspect my dad should also. All have problems swallowing food without choking and have to be extremely careful when they eat.

The scar tissue is normally caused by untreated acid reflux.

It's a safety issue that can end up with you choking to death, depending on where in your throat the constriction is--I'd recommend having the procedure done and get yourself evaluated for acid reflux.
Thanks for the reply. My issues are located in a place where breathing is fine when this happens. But, it's not pleasant for sure. Yep, acid reflux appears to be the issue here.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:33 AM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

Who is recommending the throat stretching? Your family doctor? You should not THINK the scaring is related to acid reflux. Instead, you should KNOW. (No offense to you.)

Is your acid reflux being treated, if that is the problem? If it is bad enough to scar your esophagus, you should see a specialist, at least for the diagnosis. I would assume that a gastroenterologist or a surgeon will be doing the stretching.

Look at this way, if the stretching does not fix problem, you wasted your time, money and put yourself at some medical procedure risk. All procedures have risk.

Now if your doctor is speculating on diagnosis and is planning to send you to a specialist (gastroenterologist) that is ok. The GE will do the proper tests first to confirm cause.

Are you taking other meds. There side effects can cause dry mouth that affects swallowing. There are pills for that too. Good luck.

Remember, NO ONE will take ownership of your health except you. It is good you are asking questions here, but you also need to ask them of your doctors.

BTW, I searched WebMD for swallowing difficulties. Below is what they listed.

There are two types of problems that can make it hard for food and liquids to travel down your esophagus:

The muscles and nerves that help move food through the throat and esophagus are not working right. This can happen if you have:
Had a stroke or a brain or spinal cord injury.
Certain problems with your nervous system, such as post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson's disease.
An immune system problem that causes swelling (or inflammation) and weakness, such as polymyositis or dermatomyositis.
Esophageal spasm. This means that the muscles of the esophagus suddenly squeeze. Sometimes this can prevent food from reaching the stomach.
Scleroderma. In this condition, tissues of the esophagus become hard and narrow. Scleroderma can also make the lower esophageal muscle weak, which may cause food and stomach acid to come back up into your throat and mouth.
Something is blocking your throat or esophagus. This may happen if you have:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid backs up regularly into your esophagus, it can cause ulcers in the esophagus, which can then cause scars to form. These scars can make your esophagus narrower.
Esophagitis. This is inflammation of the esophagus. This can be caused by different problems, such as GERD or having an infection or getting a pill stuck in the esophagus. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to food or things in the air.
Diverticula. These are small sacs in the walls of the esophagus or the throat.
Esophageal tumors. These growths in the esophagus may be cancerous or not cancerous.
Masses outside the esophagus, such as lymph nodes, tumors, or bone spurs on the vertebrae that press on your esophagus.
A dry mouth can make dysphagia worse. This is because you may not have enough saliva to help move food out of your mouth and through your esophagus. A dry mouth can be caused by medicines or another health problem.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

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Originally Posted by blueinbr View Post
Who is recommending the throat stretching? Your family doctor? You should not THINK the scaring is related to acid reflux. Instead, you should KNOW. (No offense to you.)

Is your acid reflux being treated, if that is the problem? If it is bad enough to scar your esophagus, you should see a specialist, at least for the diagnosis. I would assume that a gastroenterologist or a surgeon will be doing the stretching.

Look at this way, if the stretching does not fix problem, you wasted your time, money and put yourself at some medical procedure risk. All procedures have risk.

Now if your doctor is speculating on diagnosis and is planning to send you to a specialist (gastroenterologist) that is ok. The GE will do the proper tests first to confirm cause.

Are you taking other meds. There side effects can cause dry mouth that affects swallowing. There are pills for that too. Good luck.

Remember, NO ONE will take ownership of your health except you. It is good you are asking questions here, but you also need to ask them of your doctors.

BTW, I searched WebMD for swallowing difficulties. Below is what they listed.

There are two types of problems that can make it hard for food and liquids to travel down your esophagus:

The muscles and nerves that help move food through the throat and esophagus are not working right. This can happen if you have:
Had a stroke or a brain or spinal cord injury.
Certain problems with your nervous system, such as post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson's disease.
An immune system problem that causes swelling (or inflammation) and weakness, such as polymyositis or dermatomyositis.
Esophageal spasm. This means that the muscles of the esophagus suddenly squeeze. Sometimes this can prevent food from reaching the stomach.
Scleroderma. In this condition, tissues of the esophagus become hard and narrow. Scleroderma can also make the lower esophageal muscle weak, which may cause food and stomach acid to come back up into your throat and mouth.
Something is blocking your throat or esophagus. This may happen if you have:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid backs up regularly into your esophagus, it can cause ulcers in the esophagus, which can then cause scars to form. These scars can make your esophagus narrower.
Esophagitis. This is inflammation of the esophagus. This can be caused by different problems, such as GERD or having an infection or getting a pill stuck in the esophagus. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to food or things in the air.
Diverticula. These are small sacs in the walls of the esophagus or the throat.
Esophageal tumors. These growths in the esophagus may be cancerous or not cancerous.
Masses outside the esophagus, such as lymph nodes, tumors, or bone spurs on the vertebrae that press on your esophagus.
A dry mouth can make dysphagia worse. This is because you may not have enough saliva to help move food out of your mouth and through your esophagus. A dry mouth can be caused by medicines or another health problem.
My general practitioner referred me to a specialist and the specialist was the one that told me what I have and what I need. My understanding is that they will be inserting a camera first to identify the exact area and then doing the stretching thing. I am working on my acid reflux, but it's still an issue sometimes.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 12:05 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

Ok, that sounds a little better. Kind of odd that you specialist did not due the swallowing test. Our doctors are test happy.

The specialist will do an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). This is the camera at the end of a long tube. The tube may have the stretching device attached to it, so once the doctor locates the right spot, they go right to the stretching part. You probably will be sedated with propofol. Depending on your doctor this will be either done in their clinic or in a hospital setting as an out-patient. I am not familiar with the stretching, but very familiar with the rest. Think a dozen times.

Make sure that you fully understand your diagnosis and how to treat this in future. Sounds like the doctor told you, but still make sure you understand. They should have some papers to give to you to explain the medical condition you have and other papers that explain the procedure.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 12:28 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

When I read the title of this thread, I thought for sure I'd be deleting it for violation of the "Sex in Marriage" rules.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 12:39 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

See a GI Specialist ASAP! This is a medical problem that is certainly solvable!
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 12:40 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

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When I read the title of this thread, I thought for sure I'd be deleting it for violation of the "Sex in Marriage" rules.
I was thinking the same!
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:00 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

I have a family member with scarring from acid reflux and he has his throat stretched on every endoscopic exam, not sure if yearly or every other year. He says the stretching doesn't last very long.

I would get more information and other options prior to having this procedure done. Also hopefully the acid reflux has already been addressed.

Good Luck!
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:07 PM
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

OP, try this link ASGE: Understanding Eso Dilation Updated

Understanding Esophageal Dilation, from American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

Great information! Thanks to all of you that have responded!

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swallowing issues and throat stretching?

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Originally Posted by Amplexor View Post
When I read the title of this thread, I thought for sure I'd be deleting it for violation of the "Sex in Marriage" rules.
Ha, never thought of it that way. That's certainly not the way I want my throat stretched.

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