ZocdocAnswersFood constantly gets stuck in my throat. What can I do?

Question

Food constantly gets stuck in my throat. What can I do?

I am a 44 year old male in otherwise good health.Hello, I have been having a growing problem with food getting stuck in my throat. It has been getting to the point where at least once every other day or so I get something stuck and cannot even get water down. The last episode lasted several hours and I was constantly coughing up spit that would not go down.

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your symptoms. It is not possible to provide an accurate diagnosis without performing a thorough review of your medical history as well as a physical exam. I strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor to further discuss your issues. In general, difficulty swallowing solids and liquids indicates either a physical obstruction or a problem coordinating your muscles to swallow and propel food into your stomach. One possibility is that you have a Zenker's diverticulum, or an outpouching of tissue connected to your esophagus. Achalasia, or a stricture of your esophagus, can cause these symptoms. A problem with muscle contraction, which normally helps propel food down your esophagus, can cause difficulty swallowing. Other syndromes to consider include eosinophilic esophagitis, nutcracker esophagus, and esophageal candidiasis. Depending on your history, you may be at risk for esophageal cancer or another type of cancer in your mediastinum, which could be compressing your esophagus. All of these possibilities need to be addressed with a gastroenterologist. When you see a gastroenterologist, they may recommend an endoscopy, or procedure where a camera is passed through your esophagus into your stomach. You may also need as barium swallow test to help visualize what is causing your difficulty swallowing. Depending on these results, you may need additional tests.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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