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Digestive Disorders

Food Goes Down Slowly & Sticks on the Way

01/20/2010

Question:

Why when I eat solid food, I swallow the food & it takes a slow decent down, stopping at breastbone. I need to stand up and I feel like I am going to choke. I am breathing through my nose, but it scares me. It will then go down and I feel it move to my stomach. Why do I get this? I am a 48 year old female mother of 8. I am a bit overweight, but it`s not severe, and have no other issues. Maybe once last year I had a blockage of my small intestine due to a rip in the wall of the round ligament. They pushed the intestine out and sutured the tear. They said it was from a previous pregnancy. Please help me. Thank you.

Answer:

Food sticking, or dysphagia as it is medically known, needs evaluated with either a barium swallow (x-ray) or an upper endoscopy. It is likely a benign process such as a hiatal hernia or narrowing caused by reflux. But it can also mean something more serious like a stricture or a tumor. Your primary care doctor can order the x-ray or refer to a gastroenterologist.

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Response by:

Annette  Kyprianou, MD Annette Kyprianou, MD
Senior Clinical Instructor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University