CSN Login
Members Online: 13

You are here

New here...Things that are easy to swallow?

Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2013


This is my first post, though I've been reading this forum for a few weeks and have learned a ton from you all.  My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer in January.  So far she has had 3 of 7 chemo treatments, and 5 out of 35 rad treatments.  Her tumor is large, and her esophogus was already narrow to begin with.  She was told yesterday by the radiation oncologist that she must keep swallowing so that she doesn't lose the ability.  I had already read that on this board, so thank you for that.  My question is, what kinds of food/drink did you find easier to swallow?  She has a feeding tube for nutrition.  She finds water too thin to swallow easily, and she has found carbonation doesn't work for her.  Are thicker things like Ensure easier to swallow than water?

Also, she was given magic mouthwash yesterday.  I've read here that it works, but I'm not sure what it does.  Does it reduce the pain when swallowing?  If so, do you typically take it before eating/drinking?  

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the information you provide.  This forum has already taught me so much.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

First if you haven't checked out the SUperThread (first post on the forum, do so.., tons of great info)...

I didn't have the feeding tube, but did use Ensure exclusively for 7 - 8 weeks during and after rads. For me it worked great, but I didn't have a restricted passage way. The majic mouthwash is a mixture of lidocaine and other ingredients that numbs the throat for 10 - 15 minutes... Enough time to take in water, Ensure and for me a few sliced peaches to keep the muscles working.

I usually chased that with a crushed up percocet or oxicodin in a little water for any pain that was sure to follow. For me also, not sure why, but a long hot/warm shower after helped sooth the throat and body also...weird, I know.

My routine several times a ay was the majic mouthwash, a glass of water, 2 Ensures, a few peach slices, more water, and then the crushed percocet.

I'm sure others will chime in concerning the feeding tube.

Again, welcome aboard...



NJShore's picture
Posts: 423
Joined: Nov 2012

Welcome!, so glad you decided to say hello!

The Ensure is really good for her if she can swallow it. It has a lot of nutrition in it. My husband found that milk, and eating soggy cereal was easy to get down. Jellos, puddings, smoooth and looser mashed potato's with lots of butter (not exactly healthy, but it helped). He also liked soups and broth. He also loved buttered noodles.

The magic mouth wash has a numbing medicine in it, it works, but Dan's complaint was it worked until he drank or ate a bit, and it wore off fast..  but that didn't stop him from using more! Yep, she should use it 5 - 10 minutes before eating. And sometimes in between. If Dan had trouble falling asleep, it would take the edge off and allow him to rest at times.

Good Luck to your mom, and to you, sounds like you are being a great caretaker!





CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4298
Joined: May 2012



Welcome to the H&N forum.  I am sorry you find yourself here, but hope we can help.


I had a PEG which I used for my Jevity nourishment daily, but I always managed to drink my one meal of Boost or Ensure daily.  I could not stand the taste or feel of most foods after week 3 of treatments so I lived off a mostly liquid diet for 7 months. 


Don’t get me wrong, I tried to eat everything, like normal people, it did not matter how soft or smooth the food was, I just did not like it.


Today, I am back to eating normally, I eat just about everything you can mention and my taste buds are struggling, but working.


As for Magic Mouth Wash, I happen to be a big fan of the stuff and went through  a six-pack of it.  I would take from 2 to 5 to 10 mils at a time, swish it around in my mouth and then using small sip-swallows down the junk.  I would take it throughout the day and just before bed time to help me get to sleep.  I would pour 10 mils into that funky little funnel while in the parking lot of my radiation treatments and drink it just prior to walking in for rads.  The taste never bothered me (since I could not taste).  Funny thing is, I do taste it now and wonder how I ever managed to be best friends with my buddy, Magic Mouth Wash.


Finally, the most important thing I learned prior to the start of treatments is to keep drinking water and to swallow.  I followed that advice religiously and credit it with my successful recovery.  Milk may be your ticket to soft smooth (coating) drink and some say (Rick) that warm is better than cold.





phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

Glad to hear you've been reading this forum....and REALLY glad you have decided to join us with a post of your own. 

The one thing I can think of that is thicker than water (but not too thick), that gives lots of nutritian and hydration is....MILK...4% milk.  I went thru a gallon every two days.  Amazingly, it was also something I could taste.  If it's still too thin, maybe try half and half....same principle but a little thicker than milk, and very high in calories.  She'll want to do her Ensure along with it, of course...but if water is out because it's choking her....give milk products a try.  Also, I remember going thru a phase where liquids seemed to try to go down the wrong hole....it passed....so I was glad I kept trying water. 

Room temp is what worked for me....cold out of the fridge was too cold....but it only took a short time for milk to warm up enough to be comfortable.


Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012


I had a PEG fitted 2 weeks prior to Chemo and Rad, I used the PEG for Ensure 2 cal during treatment, then Jevity after treatment overnight, during this time I kept my swallowing muscles going by using Smoothies and Soup as I could not handle any solid foods, after my treatment I started trying to eat solids with a lot of gravy to replace the normal saliva that was not being produced, I also had to have a drink to go with food in order to swallow properly, since finishing treatment in Aug 2012 I am now able to eat most things with the exception of hot spicy food and bread, spicy food still burns my tongue and bread just sticks in my mouth so I cant swallow it, it has been a hard journey to this point having had to force myself to try different foods even though my head told me no it will hurt to much, have not used any magic mouthwash but it has been worth it as I can now go to restaurant and always find something to eat on the menu especially RARE STEAK which I really enjoy, (Did not think I would be eating like this within 6 months of finishing treatment was expecting at least 12-15 months) so keep at it, it may hurt and be unpleasant but it will be worth it in the end



ausrebel53's picture
Posts: 74
Joined: Dec 2012

Welcome, just to add my 10 cents worth. I have a lump on my larynx and had to have a trach inserted in order to breathe. I also have a peg tube and can no longer swallow food, just doesn't agree with me, we are all different here. If it becomes to difficult to swallow and the peg is the only way I find boost plus or ensure plus to be able to maintain weight. I take 2 x 8 fl oz bottles at a time through the tube, I do this 3 times a day. Each bottle contains 350 calories, 13g protein and 24 vitamins and minerals (ensure). This gives me 2100 calories which is what we at least need. I still swallow some drinks during the day, sometimes milk but mailnly light liquids to keep me swallowing.

Something else to consider, oatmeal (I call it porridge) cooled down with milk, I found I could eat it and it provides a good source of calories.


cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

First, I'm sorry to hear this of your mother. You did yourself a favor and found the right forum!! You will find many great people here that will offer the best advice and will be able to share your challenges and help you along.

My loved one had a feeding tube put in about half way through treatment. That is where he got all of his nutrition. It became very difficult for him to swallow anything other than water. But, as most have told you the key is to "keep swallowing". The MM is very helpful if you use it just before the swallowing....kind of takes the edge of the pain.

Your mom will do just fine...soundslike she has raised a good child to look after her! Stay with us....we'll help you through this journey.

God Bless,


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

Milk made everything go down easier for me. I did very well with eggs and also pancakes with plenty of syrup and potato soup. I found that drinking water at room temperature worked best for me. It is extremely important to keep swallowing even if just sips of water.  

MarineE5's picture
Posts: 907
Joined: Dec 2005


hwt brought up a good point, Room Temperature. It was important for me to take anything in at room temperature during treatment and I still tend to do so today. Anything that is too cold or hot may cause your Mom's throat to feel like it is on fire.

My Best to Both of You and Everyone Here



Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2013

Thanks to all of you for your responses.  The support here is just amazing.  I've written down all the suggestions and will see what we can get Mom to swallow.  Thanks a million!

Subscribe to Comments for "New here...Things that are easy to swallow?"