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Difficulty swallowing food

With a hiatal hernia, it is harder to swallow solid food and drier textures like rice, chicken or meat, while liquids work smoothly. If you also have trouble swallowing liquids, there may be a neurological cause.

People who have difficulty swallowing food can have different symptoms that they experience differently:

  • It may feel like something is stuck in your throat or chest.
  • Some feel they have a tight throat and their food gets stuck, or comes back up into their mouth again.
  • Others feel that their oesophagus hurts when swallowing, they get pain in their chest or feel full quickly when they eat.
  • Soreness or even pain and a feeling of swelling when touching the skin at the sides of the throat or behind the ear.

All symptoms have a negative impact on the quality of life of those who suffer. Meals, which are usually pleasant moments, will be a struggle. The problems can come and go, and over time may occur more frequently or constantly.

If you have swallowing difficulties it is important to contact your GP to find out the reason behind the problems and rule out any illnesses.

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Causes of difficulty swallowing food

The most common cause of having difficulty swallowing (oesophageal intermittent dysphagia) is a hiatal hernia. This means that the diaphragm muscle keeping the stomach in the right place has been weakened.

If part of the stomach slides up into the chest cavity, through the diaphragm, the oesophagus folds up, meaning that pieces of food stick more easily on the way down. The body solves the issue of food getting stuck in an oesophageal fold by coughing it up or vomiting it up, often along with frothy phlegm.

If the oesophagus is folded, the upper oesophageal sphincter cannot open properly and obstructs the food heading down to the stomach. The lump or narrowing of the throat you may feel is the upper oesophageal sphincter which does not open.

This is also the reason that firmer textures stick in the throat, while liquid usually gets past anyway. A mouthful of food can also be swallowed wrongly so that it gets stuck in your throat. In the best case scenario you cough and bring up the food – otherwise there is the risk that food or drink enters the airways, known as quiet aspiration.

Difficulty swallowing food at a dinner
The joy of social dinners disappears for many with problems swallowing food.

Help and treatment of swallowing difficulties

It is best to get started with treatment as soon as possible, so that the hiatus hernia does not get any worse.

IQoro works the musculature that has been weakened throughout the entire swallowing process. Research shows that you can get rid of your swallowing problems through the neuromuscular treatment that IQoro provides.

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“I have had problems with my throat for over three years and discovered IQoro. A lot of the issues have eased significantly following 3 months of use daily, would absolutely recommend as this has been a super help to me.”

Gordon T, verified customer.
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