Difficulty swallowing

    • March 6, 2007 at 10:39 am

      I was wondering if anyone thinks that there is a connection between difficulty swallowing and a thyroid issue?

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm


      I developed a swallowing problem years ago — that I have since resolved.

      You asked specifically about there being a possible “thyroid” connection — I do have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that was diagnosed not too long after the whole swallowing problem. And I now have Sjogrens which also has swallowing issues as its symptoms — but I just don’t think that in my case these were related to my swallowing problem.

      Back when I had the swallowing incidents [15-17yrs?? ago ] I had had a few experiences of when I would try to swallow it felt like the muscles weren’t working — I had food in my mouth, went to swallow and nothing happened. Freaked me out — because I immediately thought — “..brain and muscles not communicating… I must have MS”.

      Well — after more than nine months of seeing numerous doctors / specialists and having a zillion tests / MRI scans done — and no one could tell me what was wrong… I took matters in my own hands. This was actually before the Internet was so prevalent so I went to the library and did a search on their computers’ medical database using my symptoms and it came up with some possible problems. I had my family doctor run every kind of connective tissue disease test he could think of — AND — I made an appointment with a TMJ specialist. All the connective tissue tests came back negative.

      A couple of weeks before my first swallowing incident I had been to the dentist and had a crown done. The TMJ specialist told me that he knew exactly what my problem was. He explained to me that because my bite was off as a result of the teeth not aligning properly it was creating spasms in the muscles that are involved in swallowing. He told me it takes the cooperation of 14 muscles to achieve a swallow. He adjusted my bite and also created a night splint. I haven’t had any swallowing problems since then.

      Not sure if this helps you… but I thought I would share my experience in case you or someone else can relate.

      What type of symptoms are you having and why do you think there might be a thyroid connection?

      Best wishes…

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2007 at 1:29 pm

      I have had a couple of incidents where swallowing was a problem since I was released from the hospital. My first was a piece of Filet Mignon got stuck and I tried everything to get it to move , I was gurgling and could talk a little but swallow nothing, not even my saliva….it was getting ugly, so to the ER I went, 4 hours later they got a ENT Doctor to come in and push it on into my stomach. $4700.00 later! I did get some pretty neat pictures!! lol I have had a couple since then but not as bad. I have to be careful and cut real small and chew everything well. I had a vent for 13 days and that might be related. It’s really scary to be choking on something and know that any second it could cut the air off.
      I also have a problem exhaling , it’s like a valve is getting stuck.:confused:

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2007 at 3:16 pm


      My problems with swallowing were as a result of my GBS. It was as my GBS was progressing, and then in the initial recovery phase because my muscles were not strong enough yet.

    • Anonymous
      March 8, 2007 at 5:07 am

      I was diagnosed with CIDP in July 2005 (had been increasingly sick for over ten years before that, though– typical!) I didn’t experience trouble swallowing until somewhere around Fall 2006, when I started having trouble– I could clear most of the food from my mouth but pften couldn’t get it [I]all [/I]to go down. Pills especially seemed to get stuck. It felt like I’d lost the ability to swallow HARD.

      At the same time, I also experienced bouts where it felt like I couldn’t get enough air, too– and I discovered I wasn’t able to take a deeeeeep breath any more. You know when you breathe in soooo deep, it kinda hurts? I couldn’t– nowhere near, even. A couple nights I woke up gasping, and was developing an aversion to sleep (not knowing if I’d wake UP!) One evening, I even drove myself to the emergency room, but my oxygen saturation rate was fine– apparently while I had the [U]sensation[/U] of not getting enough air, my body had already learned to compensate just fine.

      I’d also get the hiccups ([I]severe [/I]ones) during my infusions– and not when I was drinking or eating, they’d come on when I was asleep, nodded off on Benadryl. The nurses saw it happen– and had no idea either. I think now that it was partly infusion-driven, but also partly from impaired swallowing. That’s probably my strangest symptom ever!

      All is improving with continued IVIg treatments (yay!), but I still get occasional reminders of both the swallowing and breathing impairment. My neurologist says it’s likely autonomic neuropathy (in addition to my initial diagnosis, peripheral neuropathy.) Demyleination affecting the nerves in areas controlling autonomic functions, such as swallowing, breathing, heartbeat, temperature regulation (check!), metabolism (check!), etc– so, it all made sense, in my case.

      I was sent for a swallow test, which showed nothing wrong– but that’s swallowing one huge horse pill that didn’t get stuck THAT time . It was big– and easy to swallow. Why not give me something a bit more challenging– wouldn’t that be more telling?! ) Anyway, my neurologist wasn’t deterred, he still believes it’s from autonomic neuropathy– and I agree. As I said, the IVIg is causing improvement on all counts, but I figured I’d share my version, to help you get a more complete picture. It’s amazing how these illnesses present so differently in each of us– but comforting to know that while I may not have an identical patient-twin out there, I’ve found plenty of other patients for probably every single symptom I’ve experienced… and I’ve got pleny of warning for ones that may show up in the future (thanks, guys!)!

      I went to Speech therapy for a while (not for problems with speech, but those are the therapists that address speech, swallowing [I]and [/I]breathing– no one thinks of or seems to know about the latter two, because their title only refers to the speech component– I learn something new every day, don’t you too?) They can help show you some tricks, and exercises to maintain function. I learned to take my pills with a spoonful of pudding (because it’s thicker than water), as an example. So if the problem persists, seeing a speech therapist could help to deal with whatever issues.

      Wishing you the best– and a quick, accurate diagnosis, so you can get right to the most appropriate coping skills and/or treatment!