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Swallow Trouble?


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Dad is having a hard time swallowing. He says things like, "I chew and chew and chew, and I can't get it to go down." At the same time he says he feels nauseus. He doesn't know if it makes him feel sick that he can't eat, or he can't eat because he feels sick. Any thoughts?


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Yes, I have a few thoughts on eating.

First, the patient is not a good judge of eating because he/she is nauseous frequently, very tired and the chemo screws up the taste buds. The patient really needs a food advocate who will see that he/she eats enough and drinks enough.

Second, it is better to have the patient eat a small snack every 2-3 hours than to rely on the 3 squares we are used to. This may be managed better so that the patient eats more, and it keeps the nausea down with the stomach not empty.

Third, if he/she has trouble with solid foods, go to liquid or pureed ones -- ice cream, smoothies, frosties, blender concoctions, Boost, Ensure, yogurt, etc.

Hope this helps. Don

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It may also be that his esophagus is constricted somehow (from radiation or the tumor)so that when he swallows the food is stuck and he is having a hard time getting it down. Don's suggestions of soft foods, liquids, and frequent meals may help.

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Yes, I agree that it could be a constriction. I would make an appointment with a gastro doc if it is not resolved shortly. If it is a constriction they can go in and stretch it or place a stent in there. We thought this was the problem my mom was having but hers turned out to be an acid reflux/ulcer issue which was fixed with some meds.


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eating and nausea are a constant struggle with Alan.

somedays he can pack the food away and others it is

painful just to watch him try and force food down.

I just let him eat what he wants. He is a nutritionits nightmare.

Alan had swallowing issues for awhile after radiation, but it go better over time.

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Hi Jen,

Another possibility is acid reflux. Following radiation, it is not uncommon to have stomach upset and nausea. There can be an increase in acid production with causes the esophagus sphinters to tighten holding back the acids from going up. But, this makes it hard for food to go down as well. Keith was given prevacid following radiation because of acid issues and it helped immensely.

Saying prayers for your Keith!

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