Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties.
Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others can't swallow at all.
Some suggestions that may help you to eat easier:
- Take your time and eat in a comfortable, quiet place
- If you feel you are taking too long, and the food is getting cold, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks, or food that is easier to eat
- Try eating sitting upright in your chair
- Try to eat when you are not too tired and time meals so that your medication is working properly. This may mean moving your main meal to lunchtime rather than in the evening
- Soften hard food with sauce or gravy
- Wholemeal bread is less likely to get stuck around your mouth
- Consider replacing bread with pasta or mashed potato
It is very important to talk to your doctor or your healthcare team as soon as you can if you have problems with swallowing, as they may refer you to specialists who can help.
A speech and language therapist, who works with people with swallowing problems, can offer information and suggest strategies to overcome some of the challenges you are experiencing.
Tips to cope with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)
- Avoid hard-to-digest foods (legumes, cabbage, very spicy or high-fat foods)
- Avoid crumbly or fibrous foods (hard-boiled eggs, chewy meat) as well as foods with mixed consistency (e.g. stews or lumpy soup)
- If you have difficulty chewing or swallowing, go for soft, bite-sized foods such as mashed potatoes, smooth yoghurt, or puddings
- Take small mouthfuls and chew thoroughly