I'm having a great of trouble with trying to swallow my food even drinks are proving difficult anyone else got this problem

Ask to see a 'Speech Therapist'.. There are heaps of different techniques that you must now do if you're to LiveWithAtaxia..

Also,Google,' Dysphagia'...

There is medication for that, ask your neuro! Happens with ataxia, try eating slower and breaking down your food.

A speech therapist will also advise on what to eat and if your drinks need thickener. My daughter eventually had a peg inserted into her stomach. I am not there yet.
All the best

Dont scare her a peg comes much much much later! When u get to the point of not being able to eat anything.

Definitely see a speech therapist. She referred me to a swallow specialist and they came to my home and tested me. She recommended that I use ‘ThickenUp’. They have an excellent website with lots of tips on how to cope with choking.


On a slightly depressing note, though, sorry, but it is worth knowing. We have ataxia in our family and unfortunately my Dad died from weak throat muscles. He was having a routine operation and aspirated twice in the recovery room of our local hospital. He died in intensive care 10 days later from complications due to aspirating. The hospital did not realise that he had weak throat muscles. If you or a member of your family with ataxia needs to have an operation please be sure that the doctors are aware of the problem, especially the anaesthetist. They can really help : )

That is not true, my daughter had a peg fitted while she still could eat and drink. It is being realistic to know all of the options. Let’s all bury our heads lest we scare someone. Ataxia is a reality you have to learn to live with the realities or else when something real hits hard you won’t be able to cope.

yes i do

A peg is tough, one day at a time.

You go see your ENTabout that he or she will probley want to shave your toughdown

Dear Maggie, As others have said a speech therapist can help you. For instance, when drinking liquids, the speech therapist told me to drop my head towads my chest when swallowing. For me it really helps! Also I take small sips of water, eat very slowly (again, small bites) and chew food very throughly before swallowing (take sips of water in betweeen). Also, although I've personally never used them, "thickeners" can help too. I suggest you speak with your neuro. My best to you... ;o)

I haven’t seen a speech therapist about it, but here are some tips that have helped me, some have already been mentioned:

Use a straw for liquids and keep your head tilted down when you

Some textures are really difficult. For me, I can’t eat anything “stringy”? I guess is the best word. It feels like my throat muscles get too tired part way down – if that makes sense. So I avoid pineapple, salad, spaghetti— those types of foods ( I can’t tell you how much I miss Cobb salad!)

Anything especially “chewy /crunchy” also makes me choke – so, for example - steak, ( although tiny pieces are ok - and soooo worth it as a treat :wink: broccoli, carrots, turkey, nuts lots of cereals, seeds

On the other hand - I can’t go too far in the other direction - super " gummy" type foods are bad too. Like peanut butter, drawing a blank on others - but know it’s come up.

I don’t know if others have this problem – but I can’t open my mouth very wide since the ataxia kicked in ( I have an autoimmune /encephelatic kind-- so my progression was really, really fast and severe) . My jaw locks. So big foods, like hamburgers on a bun, are also out.

Some foods that work for me:

Yogurt, pudding, soup, lasagna, pizza, corn - in small amounts, meatloaf, avocado, dinner rolls with butter ( just have to tear them up) , chili, some crackers/chips/bread – just have to try each to make sure the texture is ok. Ham, fish, potatoes, olives, berries. Tuna. Chicken salad. Peanut butter on a cracker is sometimes ok. Cheese. Chicken pot pie - sometimes. Chicken nuggets, berries. Rice. Quiche. Oatmeal. Pie and cake :slight_smile: shakes, smoothies, nutritional drinks, some pastries, peaches, apricots ( although that’s a balance - if the skin is on it can be a problem )

If there’s a lot going on around me I’m also more likely to choke. It’s like instead of just eating, I need to concentrate on eating.

Just sticking to foods I can eat , and finding out by trial and error what those are – has made a huge, huge difference, for me. When this first started I was choking ALL the time, but now it’s pretty unusual. I’ve noticed if I’m having a particularly tremory/ shaking/active/fatigued day the range of what I can eat is narrower. So I’ll wait to eat, or stick to food that are easiest - like yogurt.
Hope any of those ideas help.

Last May, I totally lost the ability to even swallow my own saliva, drinks, foods for a few days. Swallowing ability just came back after a few days. Had a barium swallowing test and weeks of swallowing therapy. Referred by my pcp. The swallowing test showed that I aspirated on every swallow, including when tucking chin, turning it to the side, and thickening liquids. The therapy taught me how to strengthen and exercise my swallowing muscles.So far, 7 months and no tube (which I won’t do) and no starving, and no pneumonia. I chew very thoroughly, small bites, no talking. Need to do my exercises more, to help reduce the choking. At least I can swallow for now.

Oh, and BTW, insurance companies make a keen distinction between speech therapy and swallowing therapy. Be sure your dr is very specific in the prescription and call ins co ahead to double check. It can be a real headache! I’m several thousand dollars spent wiser than I was before.

I have had a peg for a few years after a throat cancer and had it removed a few years ago. I got tired of having the tube rot off and then fall out. The entry hole closes up quite fast so you need to clean it and reinsert until you get a new one installed. after I had it removed I started with licking peanut butter and then made a sandwich and cut off the crust and dunked it in coco. I progressed quite good to other food but choked a lot. If in a restaurant I most always went to a smorgy type food so I could pick things I could swallow easiest. If I choked bad I would leave the place and go out and throw up then go back in and finish eating. lately I only eat at home and go in once in a while to have my throat stretched. I think a new peg is in my future but not yet. I have problems with breads and things that turn to a thick paste and have to cough them back up and drink fluid to help swallow. Jerry