Why Starchy Foods Seem to Get Stuck in Our Throats?

Difficulty swallowing foods can be bothersome. Sometimes, people have a complaint of difficulty swallowing starchy foods. If you have the same condition, do not get panicked.

Do you experience difficulty swallowing starchy foods?

If yes, then read this article for more information. Difficulty swallowing food is known medically as dysphagia. There can be many causes for it. It can happen due to health conditions, such as GERD, epiglottitis, goiter, esophagitis and infections. 

If the difficulty persists for a long time, you should visit the healthcare provider. They will perform various tests to know the exact cause of it. Do not delay your visit to the doctor. If you feel like you cannot swallow bread, keep reading the article. 

What Is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty or trouble swallowing. It can occur with solid food as well as liquids. It becomes hard to swallow food and drink for you. You may feel like the food is stuck in the chest after eating and is not going to the stomach. Different causes can be the reason behind dysphagia. 

dysphagia

Sometimes, we all can experience difficulty swallowing occasionally. It can happen when we are in a hurry and are chewing too fast. Chewing very fast can cause trouble swallowing. But if there is a persistent complaint of swallowing difficulty, you should consult your doctor because there can be different health conditions behind it. 

What Causes Difficulty Swallowing Food?

Before we let you know about anything else, you must have an idea about what causes difficulty swallowing food. It can happen due to various reasons. Experiencing a choking feeling when swallowing can be due to some serious condition. Therefore, you must visit the healthcare provider. 

People with swallowing difficulties often stop consuming food, or their diet intake is reduced many times, which can lead to weight loss. It can also cause nutritional deficiencies. Sometimes, it may resolve on its own. But when the complaint persists, you may need to seek professional help. 

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When you intake food, digestion occurs at various levels. The signals come from your brain. It also involves various muscles and nerves that control digestion. If any problem occurs at any level, it may become hard to swallow starchy foods. Sometimes the cause is serious. Whereas, sometimes, the condition resolves on its own or with medications. The various causes for difficulty swallowing starchy foods are:

GERD 

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acidity, is a condition in which the stomach acid comes backwards, towards the esophagus. With GERD, you may not be able to lay straight. It can happen due to various reasons such as being overweight, eating spicy foods, medications that cause increased acid secretion, smoking and consuming oily fired food.

Acidity causes symptoms such as:

  • Stomach pain 
  • Cough, especially when you lay straight 
  • Belching 
  • A feeling of indigestion 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Hoarse voice

Along with these symptoms, you can also have difficulty swallowing food if you have acidity. Your stomach has special linings that can bear the acidic pH of the stomach. But the esophagus is not made to tolerate the acidic pH of the gastric acid. Therefore, it gets irritated and inflamed. It causes difficulty swallowing. 

To avoid gastric acid reflux, your doctor will prescribe you medications such as antacids. These medications can help relieve it. Moreover, stop eating spicy food as it can exacerbate the condition. Consume bland food only. Make sure that you do not eat anything two hours before going to bed as it can also provoke gastric acid regurgitation. Shed extra pounds if you are overweight, and especially if you have fat around the belly. 

Epiglottitis

Epiglottitis is the inflammation of the epiglottis. It needs to be treated soon as it is a life threatening condition. Epiglottis is a cartilage in your throat. It works as a valve to prevent food and liquid entrance to the windpipe. Sometimes the tissue that makes up the epiglottis gets infected and swollen. In this way it may become hard to swallow dry food. 

dysphagia-causes

Generally epiglottitis is more common in children. However, nowadays, it is becoming more common in adults too. It can cause severe breathing difficulties. Therefore it is a life-threatening condition. If you or your children have some symptoms of epiglottitis, visit the emergency department. 

Goiter

Goiter refers to the enlargement of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland present in your neck. Sometimes, due to various health conditions, the thyroid gland can increase in its size, which may cause dysphagia.

The esophagus is a tube that connects the throat to your stomach and helps in the passage of food. It is present behind the thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland increases in size, it can compress on the esophagus, putting pressure on it. Therefore, people who have goiter can experience dysphagia because the passage of food becomes narrowed. 

Esophagitis

Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. In this condition, the layer on the inner side of your esophagus becomes damaged. Since the esophagus carries food from your mouth to the stomach, esophagitis causes painful and difficult swallowing.

Different conditions can cause esophagitis, such as acid reflux, allergies, and medications. Medications that can cause esophagitis include painkillers, antibiotics, and heart medications like quinidine.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is when cancerous cells grow in your esophagus. Common factors that increase the risk of esophageal cancer are smoking, heavy drinking, and Barrett’s esophagus. Esophageal cancer causes difficulty swallowing. The dysphagia is initially for solids. For example, you may find it hard to swallow meat initially. The dysphagia then progresses to liquids too, and there may be a stage when you have difficulty swallowing saliva. You may experience weight loss along with dysphagia.

While esophageal cancer causes dysphagia, it does not mean that it is the only cause. You may be wondering if difficulty swallowing is a sign of cancer? The answer to this question is: not always. Esophageal cancer is one of the several different causes of dysphagia. There are many other benign conditions that can cause it. So experiencing difficulty in swallowing does not always mean that you have cancer. But it is recommended that you consult your doctor about this problem.

What Should You Do If You Have Difficulty Swallowing Food?

Sometimes you need to make lifestyle changes. So that the complaint of difficulty swallowing food resolves. You can practice the following tips to eat food with ease. In this way, you will not have trouble swallowing solid food. We will tell you the changes you can make to your diet:

Muscle Exercises

Do facial muscle exercises that can help strengthen your muscles. It can help in eating food with ease. 

physiology-of-swallowing

Eat In The Right Position

Many people do not maintain an upright sitting position while eating. If you lean backwards while eating, the chances of choking food increase many times. It can also cause difficulty swallowing food. Therefore maintain an upright sitting position while eating food. Also, keep your head straight. It makes it easy for some people to eat in this position. 

Eat With Focus

Make sure that you eat with focus on eating. Do not do other activities with it. Do not distract yourself. Eat food with concentration on what you are eating. 

Prepare Food Differently

You can prepare food differently. Try keeping it not dry. You can go for the curry option to avoid getting it dry. Sometimes you have difficulty swallowing food because it is too dry. Therefore when you make it moist, the complaint resolves. You can also use various sauces to keep your food moist.

FAQs

Question- Do I need to take pain relievers for difficulty swallowing food?

Answer- Not all the time you need to take a pain reliever for difficulty swallowing food. You must visit your healthcare provider soon. They can make the right diagnosis and prescribe accordingly. 

Question- Can acidity cause dysphagia?

Answer- Acidity and GERD can be the reason for dysgpahaiga. It also causes other symptoms. So if you have other symptoms of acidity, tell your doctor about it. 

Question- What is dysphagia?

Answer- Dysphagia is the medical terminology for difficulty swallowing foods. It can occur due to various reasons. 

Conclusion 

In this article, we concluded the reasons for difficulty swallowing starchy foods. It can happen due to various different health conditions. You should visit the healthcare provider soon if you have it. Do not take it lightly if it persists for a long time.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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