ZocdocAnswersThere's food going into my nasal cavity every time I eat. What can I do?

Question

There's food going into my nasal cavity every time I eat. What can I do?

It happened about a month ago and then again a week later and now for the past week every time I eat food will get stuck in my nasal cavity and rub the back of my throat raw. So I stopped eating about 2 days ago and it still hurts. Large amounts of mucus drips down into my mouth all day long. It feels like the opening from my nasal cavity to my throat is completely open.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you feel like food is going into your nasal cavity when you eat and that there is some pain associated with it, and you have excess mucous. I am happy to give you some of my thoughts about what might be going on, and what else you could do for further evaluation, but ultimately I am going to recommend that you make an appointment with an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician to get evaluated. They will be able to take more of a medical history and examine you which is ultimately that you need to get an accurate diagnosis. From the information that you have given me, it is possible that you are dealing with velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) which is a medical condition in which the soft palate is not able to close appropriately against the posterior pharynx and nasopharynx, which allows regurgitation of food/liquid when eating, or air when phonating. This is what happens when some people drink milk (or other liquids) and it comes out their nose. There are a number of different reasons for why this occurs, but it is difficult to tell you if this is happening, and exactly why without examining you. The ENT is the best place to start. Best of luck.

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