Recently, normally while drinking water, I have had the sensation that I cannot swallow. No matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. It happens with and without water in my mouth. I get freaked out every time it happens, obviously, and just concentrate and it eventually goes away after about 10-30 seconds. I'll drink some water after and everything returns to normal. It doesn't feel like theres a lump in my throat and it never hurts. I've wondered if perhaps I'm allergic to something, but I haven't done/ate anything abnormal before it happens I don't think. I haven't gone to see a doctor about it, and frankly I think if I did, they'd think I'm imagining it or something.

thanks in advance


I do have an anxiety disorder but I know what a normal panic attack feels like, and it's nothing like this. I'm totally calm and it'll all of a sudden hit me. Thanks for the insight though, it made me think!

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well the causes of dysphagia are quite severe,..

    What you describe sounds more like an idiopathic transient dysphagia. The closest thing to it would be phagophobia which is a fear of swallowing or choking. Obviously you don't sound like you have a fear of anything related, unless you subconsciously have developed an aversion or fear of your inability to swallow and this psychogenic response leads to a physical, temporary, manifestation of dysphagia.

    Irregardless, this does warrant medical attention. As the conditions that ultimately lead to dysphagia are quite serious and need treatment.

    IE: Myasthenia Gravis (Where ACh at the neuromuscular junction is innefficient) -- in Myasthenia you would experience some weakness in other muscles of your body.

    To Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, or even Pharyngitis.

    I suspect that upon examination there would be nothing out of the ordinary and it would be deemed of psychological in nature.

    If this is getting more frequent, or has been occurring for some time now.. I would inform the doctor of it, act 'normal' -- which I'm sure you will.. and when/if he decides it is nothing and just in your head -- to take account of your disposition and history. That you are sane, don't have a history of mental illness, and you request that this be taken a little more seriously just to rule out the rare possibility of another cause. Running specific blood tests, and even a referral to a neurologist wouldn't be out of the question.

    If you have NO other symptoms but this.. it is fairly difficult to make any assumption that it is anything other than mental. That said, you shouldn't ignore it based on fear of what a doctor will think. Who cares what he thinks? Trust me, your health is more important.

    If you have a history of anxiety, especially health anxiety then you can rationally conclude this is likely a result of it. If you have zero history of anxiety, depression, OCD, etc then you should really take a serious look at this due to your propensity to NOT fear minimal health issues.

    You know your history and personality and can judge accordingly.

    This isn't an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis and throat closure is much different than dysphagia..

    Further allergic reactions don't ever last 10-30 seconds.

    The swallowing motion is autonomic and a controlled motor function -- (like blinking).. So a neurological basis could be at work here, not to scare you, but intermittent dysfunction of this area would either result in a parasympathetic problem (CNS related) and/or cranial nerve issues.

    The list for differential diagnosis is quite lengthy here.. the 10-30 second time period is quite odd however.

    If this occurs when you are especially tired, you have issues holding saliva, chewing food/controlling food, and other abnormalities (especially muscle weakness) you should get it checked out asap.

    Otherwise , monitor it yourself and try not to obsess about it. If you have found yourself partially asphyxiating while eating/drinking (aka: going down the wrong pipe) I would again strongly recommend seeing your doctor and reporting it.

    Take care,

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  • 9 years ago

    Sounds like anxiety or maybe a panic attack. You may need to see a psychologist if a doctor cannot find anything wrong with you. But first see a doctor explain to him what you said here, he will run a few tests ask a few questions and if he finds nothing he may prescribe something to calm the nerves or have you see a therapist.

    Source(s): Nurse
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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I know exactly what your talking about. You may think this answer is BS, but what helped me is not to think about it. Like you don't think about breathing.

    There is nothing wrong with you. Idk what it is that makes you note able to swallow. Its in your mind I guess. Don't think about it.

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