I was diagnosed as anemic because I had donated blood too often (4x within the last year). My internist had ruled out colon cancer after running stool sample for occult blood. I was told to take iron supplement (325 mg ferrous, twice per day), which I did for 6 weeks. My most recent labs two weeks ago showed that my anemia had been corrected, with Hct, Hb, and Fe levels normal. My internist said to stop taking the iron, but the labs showed that I may have alpha thalassemia trait, for which I had further labs done. Results aren't in yet.
In the interim, right after I stopped taking the iron I developed this swallowing problem. It is not major yet, but I have had food get stuck on the way down a couple times. I need to drink water after every two bites to wash my food down. Also, I notice I'm making a conscious effort to swallow food, whereas before I wasn't something that I thought about. The difficulty swallowing gets worse as the day progresses. I've never had this problem before. I've had this problem now for two weeks and it hasn't improved. I am otherwise a healthy 37 year old male. I would go to see my internist, but he's on vacation for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, business calls me out of town for the next six weeks and I want to get this problem taken care of before I leave. Any suggestions on what I might have? Should I go see an ENT or Gastroenterologist? Thanks.
Hi, you should try to restrict the number of times you donate blood. Problems with swallowing can happen due to iron deficiency anemia causing Plummer-Vinson syndrome, where there changes to the soft lining of the throat. But the common causes for difficulty in swallowing are enlarged tonsils and GERD. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is caused due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. It could also be due to disorders of the esophagus. If your symptoms persist you will need to consult an ENT specialist, who will examine your throat and may ask for some tests like barium swallow or endoscopy to determine the cause for difficulty in swallowing. Take care.
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