Esophageal problem: food gets stuck, swallowing issues

Posted by engelee @engelee, Mar 7 8:11am

Food has for years gotten”stuck” in esophagus. Increasing frequency and severe sub-sterna pain. Contacted Dr. Connor Loftus. Flew immediately to Mayo R. Endoscopy (which I have been avoiding for years). Result: no stricture, no cancer. Given Levsin for occurrence. Happened last night, took 45 minutes to get relief. Next step esophageal magnometry: anybody have any experience with this?

Hello! I had a manometry in 2015. It was not pleasant. They insert a tube up your nose, down your throat and into your stomach. When the tech put the tube up my nose on one side, it started to bleed. He tried the other nostril and got the same result. So… as I am trying to take sips of water and swallow them, blood is running down my face. The swallowing part was horrible for me… as it usually takes me 4-9 attempts at swallowing to actually swallow anyway. I was diagnosed with unspecified motility disorder & dysphagia… no solutions on how to fix. I continue to suffer.
The test came about because I found a lump in my throat (5 thyroid nodules) which led to finding a hiatal hernia & twisted stomach. Had a Nissen fundoplication which broke down within 2 years, had a Toupet fundoplication in 2015… been suffering ever since.
I was told the nose bleed was probably because I have a deviated septum.
Good luck. It is a necessary test to prove you ARE struggling to swallow!! It is so scarey… and it changes your whole eating style. I can't do so many foods because of choking… like loose meat hamburger or Doritos. Chew, chew, chew! Small bites, puddings, mashed potatoes, shakes, etc are the best. I have lost 90 pounds through all of this!!

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Over the last 20 yrs I have gone through much of what you describe… but NOT to your extent … the Deviated septum and nose fix was the easy part.. with a really great ENT surgeon.. later I was having a lot of Reflux problems I had a Nissen fundoplication that was a dismal failure… as I lost 50 pounds.. ( a male weighing I95 at 5'-10") ..eating (which I enjoyed soooo much) became nearly impossible… so after 2 months of the local central Iowa docs tried to figure out what was wrong I went to Mayo MN and the GI dept found out in a day the condition was post-operative Gastroparesis.. This affliction can be quite different in each of us… but the slowing of the emptying of the stomach in my case was caused by damage to the hairnet like system of nerves that make the stomach empty .. in essence we have to depend a lot on gravity to do the work… and your Chew, chew, small bites, puddings, stews, etc is the means of coping.. we have to eat to sustain life …but when eating causes pain and associated problems, the focus of life shifts…Mayo GI doc said that 1 in 6 Nissens fail… so there are a lot of us out there… Have you had a diagnosis of Gastroparesis? … seeing the Mayo Nutritionist help me … I can eat nuts, avocados, and most things except rough or gummy things like Broccoli, cabbage, soft bread, lettuce/green leaves .. crisp stalks are ok .. .. You won't get a lot of understanding from others who can just shovel the food in… we have to eat slowly and not too much at one time… so Mayo prescribed Mirtazapine.. a mild anti-depressant… to help me "cope with eating"…. I have gained back 25 pounds… and enjoy desserts ..ice cream… and smoothies… I am 82.. I have been reading the fairly new biography of Thomas Edison.. he had gastroparesis too.. and he would subsist on milk and an occasional something else.. Good Luck.. Get good advice..

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@engelee There are many conditions with the symptom of difficulty swallowing. You will probably need more test to figure out what is causing your symptoms. There are many types of swallowing tests. I think I have about had them all. The one I have had the most is just swallowing barium and a fluoroscope follows the process while a dr follows the progress taking photos or videos. You swallow the barium while in different positions.. standing, turning to side and the same while lying on the table and then lying on your stomach in different positions. Usually the test ends with standing and swallowing a barium tablet.

I have achalasia, esophageal spasms, and Barrett's esophagus I eat a soft diet and eat no raw fruits or vegetables except ripe banana. I am able to eat nuts and small amounts of finally chopped dried fruits like raisins and craisins. Breads.. some I cannot eat and others I can.. trial and error. I can only eat white potatoes in soup. I eat tender meats and chew everything thoroughly before swallowing .. small spoonful amounts. Everyone is different.. some can only handle pureed foods and some can handle raw fruits and veggies.

I am told in an episode of food and/or water not going down to go to ER if it does not move down into stomach within an hour because of the chance of aspirating. You have to bear in mind that it takes a bit to get a dr there and a room set up for the endoscopy to remove any blockage.

ZeeGee

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Just a thought: has anyone suggested Eosinophilic Esophagitis? It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the esophagus and is an autoimmune disease. The main symptom is feeling like something is stuck in the throat plus often heartburn/reflux. A friend was just diagnosed. Hope you can figure it out.
Theresa

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Thanks for your thoughtful idea. My gastroenterologist, Dr. Connor Loftus, had them biopsy my esophagus for cancer and EoE: All were negative. He is out of town,but, I think I have a chronic condition called “aschalia” . There are laparoscopicinterventions, but depends on pt. Status. The scary part is the literature says the end stage of this condition is removal of esophagus and placement of feeding tube. My gosh, I already have 2ostomies!. But, cart way ahead of horse. First, I trust God and then I completely trust Dr. Loftus at Mayo R.

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@ken82

Over the last 20 yrs I have gone through much of what you describe… but NOT to your extent … the Deviated septum and nose fix was the easy part.. with a really great ENT surgeon.. later I was having a lot of Reflux problems I had a Nissen fundoplication that was a dismal failure… as I lost 50 pounds.. ( a male weighing I95 at 5'-10") ..eating (which I enjoyed soooo much) became nearly impossible… so after 2 months of the local central Iowa docs tried to figure out what was wrong I went to Mayo MN and the GI dept found out in a day the condition was post-operative Gastroparesis.. This affliction can be quite different in each of us… but the slowing of the emptying of the stomach in my case was caused by damage to the hairnet like system of nerves that make the stomach empty .. in essence we have to depend a lot on gravity to do the work… and your Chew, chew, small bites, puddings, stews, etc is the means of coping.. we have to eat to sustain life …but when eating causes pain and associated problems, the focus of life shifts…Mayo GI doc said that 1 in 6 Nissens fail… so there are a lot of us out there… Have you had a diagnosis of Gastroparesis? … seeing the Mayo Nutritionist help me … I can eat nuts, avocados, and most things except rough or gummy things like Broccoli, cabbage, soft bread, lettuce/green leaves .. crisp stalks are ok .. .. You won't get a lot of understanding from others who can just shovel the food in… we have to eat slowly and not too much at one time… so Mayo prescribed Mirtazapine.. a mild anti-depressant… to help me "cope with eating"…. I have gained back 25 pounds… and enjoy desserts ..ice cream… and smoothies… I am 82.. I have been reading the fairly new biography of Thomas Edison.. he had gastroparesis too.. and he would subsist on milk and an occasional something else.. Good Luck.. Get good advice..

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This also sounds like possibility since was born with birth defect of bladder extophy .. Got ureterosigmoidostomy at 5 and had severe diverticulitis by 70 & sepsis. Dr. Heidi Nelson and Dr.Igor Fran operated on me and I got 2 ostomies. But the surgery was extremely difficult because left colon adhered to left pelvic area and had enlargement of portion of bowel. So with that surgery maybe .

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@engelee

Thanks for your thoughtful idea. My gastroenterologist, Dr. Connor Loftus, had them biopsy my esophagus for cancer and EoE: All were negative. He is out of town,but, I think I have a chronic condition called “aschalia” . There are laparoscopicinterventions, but depends on pt. Status. The scary part is the literature says the end stage of this condition is removal of esophagus and placement of feeding tube. My gosh, I already have 2ostomies!. But, cart way ahead of horse. First, I trust God and then I completely trust Dr. Loftus at Mayo R.

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@englee I go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. At the beginning of May of last year I had to go and have my esophagus dilated again. With the spasms and achalasia it can get quite painful. At the end of May I had severe episode again of the food and liquids stuck.. and again at the end of July and August. I did not go to the ER. I have had a few minutes episodes since. I am due to go back in May for a checkup on the Barretts and dilation if needed.

I have had three surgeries at the Mayo there.. long story, but due to a large paraesophageal hernia and complications. Dr Bowers is an excellent surgeon… he did the last two surgeries… my body does weird things though 🥺 After the second surgery I had a feeding tube for over a year. I see Dr Francis and her NP, Lois Hemminger now and am pleased with them.

There are several people on connect who have had surgeries for the achalasia. I will probably be at a point sometime down the road. Use the search option to look for the discussions on it. I cannot think of the names of the surgery options. Maybe first try “achalasia surgery”.

Best of luck,
ZeeGee

Liked by engelee

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Thank you so much, your information very helpful.

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Please check out our discussion on achalasia. I had an endoscopy, barium swallow and esophageal manometry before receiving my diagnosis. Good luck to you.

Liked by engelee

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So it will be a year next month since I had Nissen Fundoplication & Hiatal Hernia surgery. I've had difficulty with swallowing and stomach cramping on and off this whole time ? My surgeon kept telling me it would get better and it has only gotten worse ! He's scheduleing me for upper endoscopy ! Has anyone else had problems with this ??? I've felt for long time now something doesn't feel right ! Even taking sips off water is painful .( Male, 56 years old )

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@faithann64

So it will be a year next month since I had Nissen Fundoplication & Hiatal Hernia surgery. I've had difficulty with swallowing and stomach cramping on and off this whole time ? My surgeon kept telling me it would get better and it has only gotten worse ! He's scheduleing me for upper endoscopy ! Has anyone else had problems with this ??? I've felt for long time now something doesn't feel right ! Even taking sips off water is painful .( Male, 56 years old )

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Hi @faithann64, I'm sorry to hear that swallowing difficulties and stomach cramping continue to be a problem almost a year since you Nissen Fundoplication & Hiatal Hernia surgery. I moved your message to this exisiting discussion called "Esophageal problem: food gets stuck, swallowing issues." Click VIEW& REPLY to see the past messages. Several members such as @engelee @sickvick @ken82 @fourof5zs and others are talking about similar issues. I hope they will be able to shed some light.

Faithann, When will you get the upper endoscopy?

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@faithann64

So it will be a year next month since I had Nissen Fundoplication & Hiatal Hernia surgery. I've had difficulty with swallowing and stomach cramping on and off this whole time ? My surgeon kept telling me it would get better and it has only gotten worse ! He's scheduleing me for upper endoscopy ! Has anyone else had problems with this ??? I've felt for long time now something doesn't feel right ! Even taking sips off water is painful .( Male, 56 years old )

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@faithann64 Is the hernia a large one? Mine was a large.. very stubborn.. paraesophageal hernia also known as a sliding hernia. The hernia would slide up into my chest cavity bringing my stomach with it. I had my gallbladder out at same time as the original Nissen Fundoplication surgery. I had diarrhea with it until my husband's cousin suggested I try Align. I tried other probiotics, but it is the only one that helped with the diarrhea.

I do think another endoscopy is a good idea it will tell a lot. You still may have to have other test to get the whole picture of what is going on.

Please keep us up on how your endoscopy goes.
ZeeGee

Liked by faithann64

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@colleenyoung

Hi @faithann64, I'm sorry to hear that swallowing difficulties and stomach cramping continue to be a problem almost a year since you Nissen Fundoplication & Hiatal Hernia surgery. I moved your message to this exisiting discussion called "Esophageal problem: food gets stuck, swallowing issues." Click VIEW& REPLY to see the past messages. Several members such as @engelee @sickvick @ken82 @fourof5zs and others are talking about similar issues. I hope they will be able to shed some light.

Faithann, When will you get the upper endoscopy?

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My surgeon is trying to get my upper endoscopy asap ??? Hopefully this can be fixed . Stomach pain all the time and eating becomes an issue trying figure out what to eat . I've tried soft and still have issues just swallowing anything ? Lost 38 lbs after surgery and didn't gain any back . It's sad when I have to force myself to eat just because I know every swallow is going to be painful . Told my surgeon this is totally ridiculous ! I had my gallbladder removed years ago . It worries me that I've let this go on for to long even though my surgeon was aware of my complications. My family doctor consulted with him recently and I think that's why he's going to redo the upper endoscopy !

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@faithann64

My surgeon is trying to get my upper endoscopy asap ??? Hopefully this can be fixed . Stomach pain all the time and eating becomes an issue trying figure out what to eat . I've tried soft and still have issues just swallowing anything ? Lost 38 lbs after surgery and didn't gain any back . It's sad when I have to force myself to eat just because I know every swallow is going to be painful . Told my surgeon this is totally ridiculous ! I had my gallbladder removed years ago . It worries me that I've let this go on for to long even though my surgeon was aware of my complications. My family doctor consulted with him recently and I think that's why he's going to redo the upper endoscopy !

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@faithann64
I am sending you a link to an outline of my history. Please, do not let it scare you. I am an oddball on somethings. There are no ads on my blog.
https://zarogasnook.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-long-time-passing.html . I probably need to update the post. I meed to start blogging again.. I keep saying it and don't do it for some reason.

I lost a lot of weight, but this year have managed to gain some. I need to go back to the Mayo Clinic on Jacksonville. I am having some acid I should not be having and the ongoing battle with swallowing. I now have achalasia and Barrett's esophagus. My NP said for now because of covid-19 outbreak that we need to hold off on my endoscopy… which I agree with. So I have had Pepcid added to my meds. Two pills and it does not seem to be helping. I can call and they would probably go ahead and set it up it gets worse. I live in Albany Georgia which is a very hot spot still for covid-19. Our Governor has said more businesses like hair salons and indoor dining at restaurants can open. Only a few have opened. The number of cases has declined a small amount, but deaths are still happening.

One thing I have learned is do your best to chose the best surgeon. My first local surgeon retired that did the Nissen. The surgeon for the repair I thought I had research him pretty well. He made the mistake of putting mesh in a place he should not have. I saw a different local surgeon. He told me many here will tell you they can do the surgery you need, but they cannot.. you need to go to the Mayo Clinic where great surgeons fix other surgeons mistakes. This is a great surgeon to tell me it is beyond his and other surgeons capabilities. My first surgery at the Mayo Clinic.. an undo of the Nissen and removal of mesh with repair of hernia… the hernia repair failed. Not the surgeon's fault… just a very stubborn hernia. The idea was to see how it was in a few months with a swallow test and make a plan. That surgeon left the Mayo and I was assigned to Dr Bowers.. another surgeon. The rest of story at the link above. Dr Bowers is an excellent surgeon.

My best advice for you is to eat soft cooked veggies and fruit.. or canned fruit. No raw fresh fruits or veggies. .. except ripe bananas. They will be easier to swallow and digest. Meats should be juicy and tender.. dry meats are very hard to swallow even with small bites. I eat mostly ground beef. Tender roast and steak I can eat sometimes.. I prefer meat juice over meat instead of gravy or sauces like ketchup or steak sauce. I can eat very moist chicken. My favorite is Chick-fil-A. I have problems with some breads. Sometimes it depends on the day. Pork is hardest for me. Pulled pork is moist, but it tends to be stringy and can stick with me. Believe it or not, but crisp foods like bacon or roasted nuts can be easy to swallow. Chips are trial and error.. not much nutrients, but can help with weight gain. I eat a lot of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies to help with my weight. They actually seem to settle my stomach when I am queasy and so do Ritz crackers. I cannot swallow a saltine.

I hope a little of this helps.
ZeeGee

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I’m new but I have systemic arthritis in places that are very unusual. PLEASE EXCUSE MY BAD TyPING, ESPECIALLY THE CAPS, because my hands are impaired and do what they want on the keyboard. I am not yelling at anyone; it’s just my disabilities. Gastroparesis is normal for me. My epiglottis doesn’t always move, my esophagus shuts down completely and I’ve got adhesions and permanent partial obstructions through my small and large intestines. I also cannot take meds and what’s a meal without antacid? And must of us know the “it’s in your head” theory, which is never right. One of thE THINGS I FOUND THAT CaN HELp IF MY EPIGLOTTIS WORKS BUT MY ESOPHOGIS DECIDES TO STOP IS A “TENS UNIT” USED FOR MUSCLES SPASMs IN ONE’S BODY. The case can be carried in a purse. THE ESOPHAGUS IS A MUSCLE, as is the throat. where I also have arthritis. After checking my TABOR’S, WHICH IS A MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA IN ONE book TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHERE MY ESOPHAGUS IS LOCATED. I THEN TOOK THE HOOkED UP POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ON EACH WIRE, CRISsCROSE THEM TO GeT A MESSAGING EFFECT IN A VERY SMALL AREA AND WITHIN FIVE MINUTES OR LESS, I USUALLY HAVe THE ESOPHAGUS WORKING. AFTER THE FIRST SWALLOW, I TaKE SOME ANTAID FOR GOOD MEASURE.
Another PROBLEM COMES IS MY PUSHING OUT OBSTRUCTIONS SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK. I DO TAKE POLYETHYLENE gLYCOL, aka “Miralax” at a prescription-strength AND I EAT A LOT OF LEGUME BEANS, BARLEY AND DRINK WATER. IN FACT, IF ONE HAS STOMACH BURNING AND CAN’T TAKE ANYTHING, I MAKE WHAT EVERY 5-YEAR-OD IN Bangladesh can make except I didn’t have to boil water I also took the expensive recipe on the NET and converted it to a much cheaper recipe I could afford and it works. It’s simple–I can’t convert our system into metric, so I got a pitcher that had two liters marked on it… What I am putting down is for 1 liter. It’s 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, though I usually use 1 teaspoon per liter for me, 2 Tablespoons of fruit juice–I buy cans of fruit that are in 100% juice, Drain the juice into a container so I can make SEVERAL BATCHES AND I EAT THE FRUIT AND FILL WITH WATER fo make ONE LITER (OR IN MY CASE, DOUBLE EVERYTHING, ADD 1 EXTRA TEASPOON OF BAKING SODA, SO I CAN STOP the BURING IN MY STOMACH AND I DRINK IT. How much per day depends ON THE DAY AND IF MY EPIGLOTTIS IS BEHAVING ITSELF.
OBSTRUCTIONS COME WITH THE TERRITORY IF ONE HAS HAD ABDOMINAL SURGERY–NOT everyone gets them. EVEN WHEN THE SURGEON TEARS THEM OFF, MORE GROW. THERE’S NOTHING MORE MEDICINE CAN DO for me. IN FACT, THE LAST TIME I SAW MY GI DOCTOR HE DIDN’T WANT TO DO ANOTHER UPPER AND LOWER ENDOSCOPY BECAUSE HE’S CONCERNED he’d do DAMAGE AND THERE IS NOTHING HE CAN DO anyway. I’ve ALSO HAD TWO SURGEONS SEE THE SURPRISE–I HaVE ARTHRITIS IN MY INTESTINES–NOT FIBROMYALGIA, WHICH I DO HAVE, BUT ARTHRITIS. At 72, THERE’S NOT ANYTHING ANYONE CAN DO. The obstructions and other intestinal problems ALL STARTED WITH A BOTCHED SURGERY THE PERSON–I WILL NOT USE THE TITLE OTHERS HAVE WORKED HARD TO EARN for him and DIDN’T HAVE my PERmission TO DO AND I ALMOST DIED. I was awake during the whole thing. TtHE ANAESTHESIALOGIST SAVED MY LIFE AND OTHERs OVER THE YEARS HAVE TRIED TO FIX THE DAMAGE, FOR WHICH I AM GRATEFUL. I AM NOT A DOCTOR BUT I AM AN ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AND I GREW UP VERY POOR, and we couldn’t afford doctors. THERE IS ONE THING I WILL SAY RIGHT OUT–DO NOT, AND I MEAN–DO NOT–, DO ANY OF THESE THINGS WITHOUT CHECKING WITH YOUR MD. I ONLY CAME UP with them on MY OWN, because THe professionals RAN OUT OF IDEAS ON HOW TO TREeat because of severe, life-threatening allergies. They have done their best. Pegjoy

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