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Does MS make you feel like you forgot how to swallow?
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Does MS make you feel like you forgot how to swallow?

Does anyone ever have this happen?

Sometimes when I go to swallow, I can't.  It's like I've forgotten how to swallow or something.  It's kind of scarey!
It's not the difficulty with food going down.  it's totally different.  Is this a part of my MS?
Thanks in advance for any help!
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15 Comments Post a Comment
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338416_tn?1260996698
Sometimes I'll just be sitting there, and suddenly I'll choke or cough because spit has gone down the wrong pipe.  Kinda weird.  I also have a bit of difficulty with 'throat lock.'  It's as if the muscles have forgotten what to do.  I get around it by distracting myself, and hope that the autonomic functions will take over.
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Avatar_f_tn
This was my first symptom 20 years ago.  It lasted for about 2 weeks if I'm remembering correctly.  Occasionally it will return but only lasts a short time.  I hope it goes away for you soon.

ST
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279234_tn?1363108849
I've had this happen several times but I'm not sure what is causing it. It scares me half to death though when it happens. I'll choke too sometimes.

I've also had it happen when I'm breathing. There was one time recently I was lying down for bed and trying to go to sleep, and then I tried to take a breath (I'm not asleep, just trying to go to sleep) and it's like I forget how to breath. I panicked and within seconds gasp for air. It worked again normally but it scared me when that happens too. My heart will be pounding in my chest when it occurs. It's like I'm paralyzed for a few seconds, then everything will start to work normally after a few seconds.
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667078_tn?1316004535
I have trouble swallowing when eating sometimes and sometimes I can't eat without biting the inside of my cheek. Its like these things are beyond my control. I go through periods of choking a lot then it goes away.

I hope yours goes away.
Alex
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335728_tn?1331418012
Hi there and welcome to the MS Forum...I know we haven't spoken before but I wanted to comment on what you are dealing with as I have dealt with it before.  It first happened to me when I had a major relapse going on a few years ago.  I would be trying to drink something with my pills and I couldn't swallow...and yes it was like I had forgotten HOW to swallow and there were a few times when I had to spit out the liquid in my mouth because I simply could not swallow.  This would pass with time and I did have a swallowing study done and nothing came of it and I never did get an explanation from my personal doctors as to what this was.  It did pass with time and I have not had to deal with it for a long time...thank goodness.

So that said, I didn't offer much help did I...but then again I never did get an answer, just waited for it to pass and luckily it did.  I hope that this is the case for you and try not to get too uptight when I comes time to swallow something.  I think if we are worrying about it while we try to do it the situation only gets worse for us.  Best of luck honey!

Lots of Hugs,

Rena
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, I experience this almost everyday. It almost feels like I am trying to swallow a grapefruit, or like I have no ability to swallow...I'm not diagnosed, but this is one of my worse symptoms, besides the balance/vertigo feelings.
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807129_tn?1245277127
Me, too!  I am also not diagnosed and never connected the two until I started educating myself here.  When I noticed my vitamin wasn't going down as easily as it used to, I had attributed it to post-nasal drip since I had been getting over a cold.  But the post-nasal drip persisted, and then I read that post-nasal drip can be caused *by* a swallowing problem, rather than the other way around.  I am beginning to feel like all sorts of random oddities I've had over the years may be MS-related.

Though, I too, tend to notice my swallowing issues a lot more when I am paying attention to it, and if I forget about it I won't notice it for a while.
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400099_tn?1282958464
I am in speech therapy to work on strengthening the swallowing reflex because I too, have trouble swallowing at times, and things going down the wrong way (including saliva). Laying down and forgetting how to breath? That's happened too. I'm so glad to hear it happens to someone else. I didn't know what the heck was going on.
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648910_tn?1290666683
This week I have had a fluoroscope, a videostrobescopostophy (sp) and a modified barrium swallow all because when speaking my speech stops...like I drop syllables or my vocal chords are refusing to work...like my speech is strangled and I also have the thing going on where all of a sudden It is like I do not remember how to swallow.

Two things have come out of this weeks testing:
1. speech theraphy to increase the strength of my vocal chords..your larynx is supposed to close during speech allowing air to cross the vocal chords...this is speech.  Mine close but struggle to stay closed causing a shaky sound to my voice or they open allowing air to escape but there are no vocal chords for it to cross, thus no sound.
2.  she thinks the muscles in my throat are weak causing some of the swallowing difficulties and as explained to me today.....the first swallow is usually reflex action when eating...the follow up swallow that clears any remaining food from your throat is a conscious action.  Per the speech pathologist my brain my be saying swallow to clear the throat but the signal is not reaching my throat muscles. This is the sensation or them being paralyzed or feeling as if I have forgotten how to swallow.

She also said it was just like everything else some days the signal gets there some days it doesn't.

She hasn't decided if she is going to try anything further with the swallowing at this time as she believes the speech therapy will also help with strengthening all the muscles in my throat.

terry
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645390_tn?1338558977
I am so glad you brought this up. The past week or so, I have had lots of difficulty with swallowing. I had surgery at the end of Jan for 2 herniated discs in my neck, and post op I had this feeling because my esophagus was swollen. But it is back now, and I was confused, how this post-op problem now reinvented itself this week when I am in the middle of a flare/

I never connected this could be MS related. Interesting, I need to learn some more...

Thanks,
Michelle
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738075_tn?1330579444
I absolutely cannot talk and eat at the same time because I tend to get stuff going down the wrong way.  I don't know if that's just cause I'm a klutz, or because of my demyelination  issues.

Cheers,
Guitar_grrrl
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Avatar_m_tn
yep, has happened to me and i too will bite my inside cheek or lip at times. it comes and goes.

when i feel like i'm swallowing my tongue, and the taste and sensation diminishes, that is usually accompanied with a numbness/cold swatch on my left cheek close to my mouth. can last a few days to a week or so, then poof! gone.

and the swallowing is like the food or liguid gets close to the throat then, bam, signals from the CPU brain to the throat muscles got intercepted or hit a very large resistor.

darn near choked a few times during this

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199882_tn?1310188142
For the past few months I have been experiencing this. Every once in a while I go to swallow and can't. Sometimes it's my spit and other times it's when I'm drinking or eating. I'll go to swallow and it wont go down. I end up doing one of those things were it goes up your nose and you spit it everywhere. Done it in Church a couple of weeks ago with my coffee and doughnut. It was very embarrassing. Has anyone talked to their doctor about this?  When I read this post I had just added this to my list of questions to ask my doctor about. How ironic.

I'll be praying,
Carol (grannyhotwheels)
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Avatar_f_tn
A couple of weeks ago I was having problems swallowing. I had to have a glass of water nearby whenever I ate anything or food would get caught in my throat. It was really strange. It seems better now. Although I am having a relapse which we are going to treat with steroids.
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719912_tn?1234394365
Hi  deborah0904,

Yep it happens to me every major relapse. I had to have my food put in a blender before I could eat or drink it is a better way of putting it.  It goes away when the relapse lets up but I have to watch it sometimes because even water will go down wrong sometimes..

Peace....

JJFL
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