Swallowing difficulty and testing

I asked the speech therapist yesterday if there was something to help people with swallowing issues. She made a referral for me to have some kind of test where they use barium in different type foods, liquids and x ray or what ever they do- to determine if there is a swallowing problem and to get a "baseline" reading. She said there is therapy for that also. Anyone else had this type test and therapy for swallowing issues. I get choked mostly on liquids and pills stick in my throat. I always blamed the issue on allergies, sinus drainage etc and did not realize it was an actual swallowing problem. I just knew I couldn't swallow good at times.

Hi PG - I had a couple of MBSSs - don’t ask me what that stands for but the last two letters stand for swallow study. I needed to drink chalky liquid, and I swallowed as they x-rayed my throat.

The first one showed that I wasn’t ready to drink unthickened liquids. Until I was “cleared” on the second go-round, I could transition off of the liquid-thickener and could eat additional foods.

Be sure to search this topic above. There were some great tips for taking meds, etc. on previous discussions.

How do I search for this topic on here?

If you go up by the “Sign In” link, you can enter something like “swallow”; if that brings up a lot of links to previous discussions, you can always narrow your search by adding a word.

Here’s one link, but there are many others:

http://www.livingwithataxia.org/forum/topics/difficulty-swallowing-pills

I have heard about it. I was told there is therapy for it. One thing that I did learn was to drink liquids with my head bowed forward instead of back.. it really helps.

Hi PG, I have swallowing issues with my ataxia, in fact, it was one of the first symptoms I noticed before I was diagnosed 10 years ago. Although I've never had therapy for it, I do see a speech/swallowing therapist yearly. Some suggestions she gave me was to tuck my chin to my chest when drinking liquids. Also, take small sips. When eating, take small bites, chew throughly before swallowing, and take a sip of liquid between bites. Some people use thickeners, although I never have. ;o)

Thanks everyone appreciate the tips.

I also have swallowing issues and go in once in a while to have my throat stretched. My problem was from cancer in the neck and I was on a feeding tube for 3 yrs.eating is problem for me, trouble chewing, swallowing,tasting. Starchy foods are like eating paste as it makes me have to cough it back up to lubricate and swallow again.I have to position my head and neck a lot to be able to swallow. Jerry

My lo was about 10 months old when she had a barium meal (not her 1st I may add) but they found her esophagus closed intermittently making her choke & swallowing was difficult. X

Hi PG,
If you need a therapist to help you with your swallowing problem, check a stroke rehab center since a lot of stroke patients have swallowing issues. They will help you there.
Good luck to you.

You sound a lot like me!

I have had the barium test three times over the last six years and therapy three times. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) not much has changed. The test is painless, though a little uncomfortable. It is also kinda cool to watch yourself swallow!

Anyway, my tests always show incoordinated swallowing. That means the muscles don't work together well. Aspiration (taking food into your lungs) is the fear here, and I have none of that. There are aggressive ways to deal with aspiration, but let's hope that isn't an issue!

Therapy is uncomfortable. It involves attaching electrodes to your throat then having you swallow things. You get shocks from time to time, and that isn't a lot of fun.

But there is something very important here, too. A good therapist will help you with swallowing strategies, things you can try when you are having trouble swallowing. Some therapists will also advise you about what NOT to eat at all, which is extremely important.

I must say I've had good experiences here and bad. One place I went had only one trained shock person. When he was busy, I sat at a desk and made sounds, stuck out my tongue, and pushed against a tongue depressor with my tongue (I HATE the way those things feel. Needless to say, I didn't do my homework!). All that was completely worthless.

But learning what to eat and not eat is key. And getting to practice the strategies, even if it feels like your tonsils are stuck in an electric socket sometimes, is invaluable.

Last thing: I have a cookbook that I picked up at Barnes and Noble for soft food diets. It's a good book, with lots of sauces and soups and I'd be glad to search it out in my cluttered kitchen if you want.

My advice: have the test. Learn about the seriousness of your problem. Learn strategies. And go eat! I do have to be careful, but the restrictions are not interfering with wonderful, memorable meals. In fact, eating is probably now my favorite activity!

Drop me a note if you'd like to talk further.

Jim

What is CMT?

Jim Steele said:

You sound a lot like me!

I have had the barium test three times over the last six years and therapy three times. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) not much has changed. The test is painless, though a little uncomfortable. It is also kinda cool to watch yourself swallow!

Anyway, my tests always show incoordinated swallowing. That means the muscles don't work together well. Aspiration (taking food into your lungs) is the fear here, and I have none of that. There are aggressive ways to deal with aspiration, but let's hope that isn't an issue!

Therapy is uncomfortable. It involves attaching electrodes to your throat then having you swallow things. You get shocks from time to time, and that isn't a lot of fun.

But there is something very important here, too. A good therapist will help you with swallowing strategies, things you can try when you are having trouble swallowing. Some therapists will also advise you about what NOT to eat at all, which is extremely important.

I must say I've had good experiences here and bad. One place I went had only one trained shock person. When he was busy, I sat at a desk and made sounds, stuck out my tongue, and pushed against a tongue depressor with my tongue (I HATE the way those things feel. Needless to say, I didn't do my homework!). All that was completely worthless.

But learning what to eat and not eat is key. And getting to practice the strategies, even if it feels like your tonsils are stuck in an electric socket sometimes, is invaluable.

Last thing: I have a cookbook that I picked up at Barnes and Noble for soft food diets. It's a good book, with lots of sauces and soups and I'd be glad to search it out in my cluttered kitchen if you want.

My advice: have the test. Learn about the seriousness of your problem. Learn strategies. And go eat! I do have to be careful, but the restrictions are not interfering with wonderful, memorable meals. In fact, eating is probably now my favorite activity!

Drop me a note if you'd like to talk further.

Jim

Thanks for the information. I would like to know which foods are ok and which are not. Hopefully I will get some info by doing the test. What is CMT?

Jim Steele said:

You sound a lot like me!

I have had the barium test three times over the last six years and therapy three times. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) not much has changed. The test is painless, though a little uncomfortable. It is also kinda cool to watch yourself swallow!

Anyway, my tests always show incoordinated swallowing. That means the muscles don't work together well. Aspiration (taking food into your lungs) is the fear here, and I have none of that. There are aggressive ways to deal with aspiration, but let's hope that isn't an issue!

Therapy is uncomfortable. It involves attaching electrodes to your throat then having you swallow things. You get shocks from time to time, and that isn't a lot of fun.

But there is something very important here, too. A good therapist will help you with swallowing strategies, things you can try when you are having trouble swallowing. Some therapists will also advise you about what NOT to eat at all, which is extremely important.

I must say I've had good experiences here and bad. One place I went had only one trained shock person. When he was busy, I sat at a desk and made sounds, stuck out my tongue, and pushed against a tongue depressor with my tongue (I HATE the way those things feel. Needless to say, I didn't do my homework!). All that was completely worthless.

But learning what to eat and not eat is key. And getting to practice the strategies, even if it feels like your tonsils are stuck in an electric socket sometimes, is invaluable.

Last thing: I have a cookbook that I picked up at Barnes and Noble for soft food diets. It's a good book, with lots of sauces and soups and I'd be glad to search it out in my cluttered kitchen if you want.

My advice: have the test. Learn about the seriousness of your problem. Learn strategies. And go eat! I do have to be careful, but the restrictions are not interfering with wonderful, memorable meals. In fact, eating is probably now my favorite activity!

Drop me a note if you'd like to talk further.

Jim