Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Swallowing difficulties

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • August 17, 2009
  • 02:35 PM

I'll try to keep this short... Female, 46. Six years ago, while drinking, a bit of coffee got stuck in my throat (not up nor down), after some days/weeks of some trouble making things go down my throat. Since then I haven't been able to swallow (specially solid food) normally, which means that right after waking up and while still sleepy I eat anything - after that I stop having the ability of controlling that part of the movement that sends food from mouth to throat. Usually the difficulties peak around the middle of the day and at evening they get a bit better. I'm able to swallow solids that can be turned into liquids in one's mouth (like crunchy cookies), if I concentrate myself real hard and swallow with a lot of water. These are the good times because twice a year I have what I now call a crisis, that may last some months: during the whole day (mid-morning to mid-evening) I can't even swallow saliva which gets to be a foam (not foamy - real foam...) and the only way of getting some of the saliva downwards is to sort of making the opposite movement (as if in spitting it out). To make matters worse, when I manage to get some food or liquid through I get a massive reaction of salivating... and not being able to swallow it.

When all this started I spent some year or two cheking all doctors and medical specialities I could think of (yes, psychiatrists too...). Brain MRI OK, blood tests OK, laringoscopy OK (no endoscopy because there was some agreement to the fact that it couldn't be achalasia and I was simply too weak to endure such a thing - besides I was unable to initiate the movements to "swallow" the tube). Nobody got any diagnosis - mainly this "OK, nothing's wrong with you, bye now" kind of answer.

Well, I'm in the midddle of a crisis right now, as you can guess, and quite desperate, as I usually get. Besides it seems to me that after every crisis symptoms worsen a little bit and now liquids are starting to "go the wrong way" quite often. A strange fact: crisis stop immediately if I get a cold or flu (which generally is the sickest I get).

Although I work really long hours and I am a bit stressed out most of the time, I don't see any connections with stress or anxiety (beginning and end of crisis, nor interruption or amelioration of symptoms during the period that a shrink decided I was nuts and drugged me with everything he could think of). And it definitely isn't an eating disorder!

By now I'm quite used to hunger pangs and to the fact that my life quality has been severely downgraded. What is sending me in a downward spiral is the fact that my work means I have to talk all day (I'm a psychologist) which is impossible if saliva isn't swallowed, and most of my day is spent on the (illusion?) of impending suffocation.

Longer than I intended - sorry.
Any ideas, anybody? Anyone ever heard anything that ressembles this? I appreciate you taking the time!

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