Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

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Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby chez8 on March 2nd, 2015, 11:12 am

Hello
I haven't been on this site in awhile. I've been doing pretty good, still constant feet twitching, but after 6 years with no weakness, not too worried about that. So in the past 3 months I have noticed sometimes, while swallowing, it feels like the food gets stuck or I need an extra push to get it down . This only happened every so often and I wasn't, surprisingly, freaked out by it or thought it was anything sinister. But now I'm freaked!! This past week it's happens everytime I eat! When I'm not even thinking about it, I go to eat and I have to chew up the food way more than before and it doesn't go down easy. It feels like my tongue is getting weak and not pushing the food down my throat the way it's supposed to. I also get little pieces of food that don't go down right away. My tongue feels very fuzzy too and I feel water filling in my mouth. I know anxiety can cause these symptoms but I wasn't even anxious when these symptoms started happening 3 months ago. I actually told myself it was nothing and didn't think twice about it. Now it's constant and I'm thinking it's because my muscles got worse and now it's affecting my tongue muscles. I'm completely freaked out that this is the start of Bulbar! Help!!!
I'm constantly looking up swallowing issues and that's all I see is this could be a symptom of the onset of ALS.
Help!!!!!!
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby Yuliasir on March 2nd, 2015, 11:26 am

Chad,
dysphagia (disruption of swallowing process) is not exclusively a symptom of ALS.

Swallowing is a complex process, and in case of bulbar ALS the reason of dysphagia is a disruption of swallowing reflex. It means the throat is not opening under the pressure of food, but closes instead. Tongue in fact has nothing to do with that process of reflex loss. This could be checked by means of swallowing test in which you have to swallow a bit of barium mass under fluoroscopy and specialists asses your reflex and passage of the barium lump in your upper GIT.

Dysphagia also occurs in other neurological conditions.

Among non-neurological conditions, the most cause of dysphagia is GERD and other conditions causing reflective spasms of esophagus (often badly painful), and physical obstacles caused by pathological processes in the thyroid gland. Other reasons also could be considered but practically most of our felolows finally attribute their swallowing troubles to esophagal spasms which are not related to MND at all.

Should you have significant tongue denrevation, you must firt of all start feeling not dyshpagia but speech problems (mumbling. difficult articulation etc.), then change of voice strenght and pitch etc.
We can not help you I think but you must decide on your own if you need to see ENT, gastro or speech therpaist in order to check your related organs and systems.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby chez8 on March 2nd, 2015, 11:38 am

Thanks for your quick response. I'm a little more worried about what you said " muscles in throat are closing when trying to swallow" that's how if felt about 3 months ago and now it's every time I eat! I know I can go to the Dr. I'm just so anxious and worried they will find something.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby Yuliasir on March 2nd, 2015, 2:48 pm

Chad,
I am not a doctor and I do not see you in person. Nobody here could assess your status remotely, and hardly we can tell you if your symptomes are due to neurological condition (not necessarily ALS by the way as I said you), or it is just a GIT issue (which is much more common).
If you do not want to got to doctor, then you can only wait - and your issue either woudl be resolved or you will face more symptomes etc. Sad to say, but I doubt we can give you a reassurance without a medical opinion. We had people with quite prominent swallowing issues here which arreared to have nothing with ALS, so this is the only reassurance I can give to you for now.

Doctor may find a true reason for your condition - which as I said might be VERY far from ALS or even MND but still will need treatment. Fearing the doctor would find something does not make your life easier. Even getting neurological diagnosis may be better than non getting - becasue only people with the diagnosis may particiapte in clinicl tirals, have access to special care programs etc.

I am saying this not in order to bring you down, but rather in order to encourage you to see a qualified specialist because remote advice could be only of very limited help.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby chez8 on March 2nd, 2015, 4:48 pm

Thank you. I'm just so nervous now. I can't seem to shake the feeling. I look up swallowing problems and all I see is ALS and freak out. I'm 39 and I know it's not common at my age but a friend I stayed in contact with on FB got diagnosed with bulbar onset at age 40 and just recently died. Two young kids. I try to tell myself, it's not a common disease, more common after age 50, bulbar onset is less likely. But she was 40, and bulbar onset!!

I continue to look up sites that say ALS can start with swallowing problems. I don't have gerd and don't have digestive problems. My problem is trying to get food to back of throat, swallowing it takes an extra swallow and I sometimes cough and I have extra phlegm and I do not currently have a cold.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby Ghayes420 on March 2nd, 2015, 6:44 pm

chez, sorry for the rough patch buddy. I too battled and continue to battle throat and mouth issues.

What has your twitching and cramping been like lately? Have you been twitching non-stop 24/7 for the past six years?

I am so sorry to hear about your friend on FB who got ALS and died at age 40. My guess is that unlike you, she did not have a benign diagnosis before her ALS onset. It is very rare for bulbar onset before age 50.

As Yualisir says, most bulbar onset begins with speech problems rather than swallowing problems most of the time.

I have trouble swallowing starchy foods. My voice cuts out for no reason when speaking and I have to clear my throat. However I have mild GERD, nasopharyngeal reflux and really bad sinus drainage due to allergies. I am also quitting smoking which is increasing phlegm.

Hang in there, stay in tough here and I hope things improve for you.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby chez8 on March 2nd, 2015, 8:30 pm

I wish I had gerd, allergies or something to explain the symptoms I'm having. I'm panicked because, as I said previously, I had the feeling in the past say 3 months but didn't think anything of it. I thought maybe I was eating too fast or didn't take the time to eat and breath properly. But...now I look at it as the start of my swallowing problems!! Now everytime I eat I have a problem! So it's getting worse/ weaker! I don't have speecg problems and the babinski I did on myself seemed fine. Is that always present in upper motor though? I would say it's just anxiety getting the better of me but when this started recently I was happy and had quite a few glasses of wine and that's when I noticed it!! I was not anxious at all and having trouble swallowing pretzels!!

My feet have been twitching for 6 years ( since I've noticed) I know if that was ALS it would of killed me already . I do get random twitching in calves, hands, shoulders but nothing that stays. That doesn't bother me anymore because I'm not weak from it, but this new symptom of swallowing is freaking me out! I try to forget about it and then you need to eat so I try and then the anxiety starts up again!
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby Ghayes420 on March 2nd, 2015, 10:48 pm

Again sorry chez. Are you planning on investigating this new sx with your doctor or are you going to let it play out?

I don't think it is anything to be too worried about but I understand why you are worried since this came on suddenly and you had no obvious life stressors creating your swallowing troubles.

I am sure you already know this, but 6 years puts you past the period of worry for even the most conservative neurologists on the planet. So I hope this is just a case of something aggravating your new symptoms.

Please do stay in touch with us, vent here like you are doing, and keep us updated on your condition and recovery (which we fully expect).

Regards,
Greg
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby misterjuanperalta on March 12th, 2015, 6:59 pm

Important to note cervical spine issues can cause dysphagia.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby Buzznerd123 on March 20th, 2015, 1:22 pm

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Last edited by Buzznerd123 on May 1st, 2016, 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Food getting stuck- tongue weakness?

Postby BFSBurger on March 22nd, 2015, 9:24 pm

Chez -

Are you sure you don't have GERD? My only symptoms have been a hoarse voice, and irritated lungs when I breathe lately. I went to an ENT Specialist for something completely unrelated (was having salivary gland pain under my jaw) and he forced me to let him stick a 2 foot long probe up my nose and down my throat. He said he was very worried with what he saw in my lower esophagus. I have very bad GERD / acid reflux apparently.

I basically have zero symptoms. Difficulty swallowing is actually a symptom of GERD. I have no pain, no sensation of acid coming up my throat, and no indigestion at all, but he said my esophagus looked like raw meat, and put me on proton pump inhibitors immediately.

Point being, you may not think you have GERD and still totally have it. I would have an ENT take a look. One thing I can promise you about most people here: When we worry, our stomachs fill with harmful acid, and I would be willing to bet a lot of people here have undiagnosed GERD.

-B-
How I resolved my BFS within 1 year of onset:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19128
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