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Trouble Swallowing while undergoing Chemo

porkchopqueen's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2010

Anybody have trouble with swallowing while undergoing chemo treatments? Feels like I am swallowing something too big for my throat/esophagus, even when it is liquid and don't know if it will go down.

dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I had to break my vitamins into small pieces and only take them when someone was in the room. I didn't want to choke on them. Chemo affects all fast moving cells. 5FU affects the throat, gum, tongue, salivary glands, tear ducts, colon, vagina, bladder... think anything moist...

porkchopqueen's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks for the reply, I was wondering if it was just me! Been having all sorts of "stuff" happening and didn't know if I was imagining/expecting, just didn't know. Thanks!

PamPam2's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Jan 2009

Yes Especially cold. The doc said no cold stuff. Had to drink my water and liquids room temp. Also recommend using a straw, it helps a lot.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2555
Joined: Jun 2006

sometimes I would get liquid into my mouth and then it was almost like I had forgotten how to swollow...I just could not find the proper reflex to get things down

gone now


geotina's picture
Posts: 2106
Joined: Oct 2009

I don't remember George complaining of this but his voice sure did change while on chemo. Of course the steroids added to it so when he would snap at me a little I would just laugh and say is that you talking or is it the alien Mr. Chemo who has invaded your body. Since it affeced his voice so much I am going to assume that it also affected his swallowing but it is not something he complained about. He did say that using a straw to drink was easier.

Take care and any questions you may have throw them out there and someone will come on to give you their experience, takes the anxiety level way down when you know, yep, that is a normal reaction.


Patteee's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

yes, I would feel like I had something stuck in my throat and drink room temp water to "force" it down. That only made it worse. Then one of the oncology nurses told me to only drink warm things, that even room temp was too cold! That helped, everything went into the microwave first!

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

I've had to nuke all my liquids, and now eating some cream of wheat, it hurt when I took my pills, and couldn't swallow them all the way, it felt like they were stuck in my throat, so washed it down with some nice warm pineapple soda!


patsy1954's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: Sep 2009

I thought I was just going nuts! It is so weird, it's like I can't remember how to swallow. I love this board! Confirms that you are not alone.

Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2010

Many times. It really hurt too!

Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2008

Ask your onc. My oncologist prescribed a "slurry" for me to mix and drink and it made a world of difference. I was losing weight from not eating or drinking much due to the painful swallowing. Just a suggestion...that worked for me.


just4Brooks's picture
Posts: 986
Joined: Jun 2009

I sure did when on Oxy and 5FU. It doese get better!!


Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2013

My husband had the same problem, he was in the hospital for four days before they said they couldn't find anything. They suspected a nerve that runs from your ear down your throat.

They placed him on Gabapentin 300MG three times a day. Took care of the problem and we actually went out for steak!

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2013

My husband had the same problem, he was in the hospital for four days before they said they couldn't find anything. They suspected a nerve that runs from your ear down your throat.

They placed him on Gabapentin 300MG three times a day. Took care of the problem and we actually went out for steak!

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 2602
Joined: Jan 2013

Wait! I am an old woman.

No really, sometimes I get liquid in my mouth and then my brain doesn't know what to do with it, so I dribble. I don't eat out any more, thats for sure.

The throat sure does constrict when something is too cold.  I second and third the straw, espeicially if the mouth sore start. I've got one with a huge hole, I like that. 

Ask all the questions you want. 

This week after treatment I had terrible stomach cramps for days, and I came right here and asked if any one else had experienced them. This board is a wonderful place. 

Good luck with your drinking, as you REALLY need to keep hydrated. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2013

My dad is going through chemo and had this problem. Thanks for posting this thread, as I has my mother called the doctor and he gave him a prescription for a mouthwash. The warm liquids help as well.

Coloncancerblows's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Whenever I start my cheom, I need to take a nausea pill and it is so hard to get down my throat.  It feels like its lodged in there.  I get to where I eat a piece of bread and it makes it go down a little better.  Also, can't drink anything cold at all.  Sometimes room temperature is still too cold.  Stinks!


Posts: 193
Joined: Nov 2012

I also had problems swallowing.  I was low on Potassium while going through treatment and the Onc prescribed huge Potassium tablets.  It took me forever to swallow those.  I could only drink liquids at room temperature or warmer, as well.

bigman4christ's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2012

i am on oxy. and the dr. said that i cant drink anything cold or handle anything cold because it could paralyze my vocal cords.  it usually last about 2 weeks and if i do drink something even realitivly cold it feels like im swallowing sharp rocks.  hope that helps.


Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2013

I had the same problems with swallowing. I could not drink anything that was even room temperature. Had to warm everything up. This lasted for me the whole six months I was on chemo. The good news is that it does go away at some point and when it does you appreciate cold drinks and foods and "normal" eating and drinking more than you ever did before! I will be praying for you as you take your journey through this.

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