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    When I was diagnosed with MS never in my wildest dreams did I think swallowing would be a symptom. However, swallowing or dysphagia is the result from damage to the nerves controlling the many small muscles in the mouth and throat. In the early stages of MS it may be hard to notice changes in swallowing but it is quite a common symptom. In fact, the Multiple Sclerosis Society says “at least a third” of those with the disorder experience changes of some degree throughout its progression.

    Swallowing problems can include “Problems chewing,” “Food sticking in your throat,” “Food or drink coming back up,” and “Coughing and sputtering during and after eating,” among others. If you notice yourself experiencing any of these issues, be sure to speak with your physician.

    Personally, I'm always choking, coughing or gagging on something. I’ve probably been choking on food and drink for at least 10 years. You know it’s bad when you choke and gag on your own saliva which I do regularly! One of my toughest swallowing problems are fish oil pills. To me, those pills just seem huge!

    I read this on one of the MS sites and it works! If you have swallowing problems try this. Get the food, drink or pill in your mouth. Drink whatever and then bend your head down to your chest and swallow. This works for me and even helps with those big fish oil pills!

    Peanuts are another choking problem for me. Don’t ask me why but peanuts give me trouble. I used to love Snickers candy bars. The peanuts in them though has turned my love affair into a real bad breakup! My new favorite is Milky Way candy bars. No peanuts, nice and smooth going down. Popcorn is another one where I tread the water lightly (I’m careful).

    I thought I would add this because I think it’s interesting. All through my 20’s and 30’s I could chug a 12 oz. Coke, a beer or a water whenever I wanted. You know what I mean? It’s a hot, humid day and you’re thirsty. You grab your drink and take 4 or 5 gulps in a row to quench your thirst. I don’t know the exact year but I can no longer do that! I try to swig a whole beverage now and can only take one swig. It can be a big swig but only one. I need to check with my neurologist but I’m sure it has something to do with MS and swallowing.
    This is Scooterjon I'm originally from Minnesota, USA but has lived in North Dakota, USA for the past 15 years. I'm now considered to have Primary Progressive MS. All body functions below my waist have now stopped working correctly including standing, walking, bowels, bladder and balance.

    Hi Scooterjon,

    Yes to all you have brought up. Although you may have forgotten or have yet to experience the bitting of one's own tongue or the walls of your mouth (ouch!).

    I've experienced all of these things to some degree but either they diminished or I have become subconsciously aware leading to caution.

    On swallowing liquids, especially first thing in the AM, it seems I now have a habit of filling my mouth first and then swallowing a little at a time. Later in day swallowing is normal or close. Never was a chugger.

    I'm alone and therefore more cautious with the solids. Take care, oh, liquid kelp (and fish oil too I think), are available as drops, so add to OJ or something... easier to get down with no after taste.



      Hi Scooterjon

      I have experienced all of the problems you have mentioned also.

      As with many of my other MS symptoms, the swallowing issues seem to come and go. They're not always troublesome, thank goodness.

      Originally posted by Scooterjon View Post
      You know it’s bad when you choke and gag on your own saliva which I do regularly!
      I do that a lot too! I think it's because when it comes to saliva, I'm not hyper-aware and focused on swallowing like when I am eating or drinking.

      Take Care
      PPMS for 22 years (dx 1998)
      ~ Worrying will not take away tomorrow's troubles ~ But it will take away today's peace. ~


        Hi Scooterjon! what you are describing is dysphagia and while this is an awfully scary symptom, there can be help. I've read on the boards here that a licensed speech pathologist have helped many people.

        Here's an article that explains swallowing problems and how speech pathologists can be of help.

        Maybe you've already gone this route, but it not, it might be something that you will want to look into.
        Take care.
        1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
        Administrator Message Boards/Moderator