Trouble Swallowing Food – Getting Stuck and Vomiting While Eating

Jolie with family

Jolie with her family


I’m 29 and have been living in Ulcerative Colitis denial for 12 years. Finding this site has really helped me to understand it (much more than a doctor has bothered to explain) its been great for resource, latest research and just reading about others who are in the same boat as me… Below is a question to do with UC – strange symptoms.

Colitis Story:

Every other meal I eat I find my self gagging for some water or bent over the toilet bowl trying to dislodge food.
Ill eat something – can be as small as a pea or as big as bread or chicken – and at some point my throat just does not let the food down. At this point I try to swallow some water but more often than not I have to induce vomiting to get rid of it. If i cant its a constant feeling of gagging / bringing food up.
There is a lot of mucous that develops around the food which i usually bring up before the food itself. I guess this is the body trying to dislodge the blockage itself?

This is something I have been getting since before being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, has/does anyone else struggle with swallowing food /food getting stuck when eating? I don’t know if its related or not or whether its just something else that I can add to my list..

After a bit of googling Ive found this medication definition which pretty much sums it up – I don’t know for sure if this is what i have but it sounds accurate.

Achalasia Overview

Achalasia is a rare condition that makes it difficult for food and liquid to move from the esophagus into the stomach. It’s caused by nerve damage to the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that normally would relax to allow the passage of food. It’s not clear what damages the nerve in the first place, but infections or autoimmune diseases are possible causes. Achalasia usually appears in people ages 25 to 60 and sometimes in children. Medications, shots, endoscopy, or surgery may help ease achalasia. If not treated, achalasia can lead to weakness and malnutrition.

BTW i had been to the doctor about this when I was about 8 or 9 and all I remember was the doctor saying that it was usually something old people get.. ? Maybe a revisit is in order…

written by Jolie

33 thoughts on “Trouble Swallowing Food – Getting Stuck and Vomiting While Eating”

  1. jolie, i totally know what you mean! i have this problem every time i am flaring. it was worse last year when i was going 30x a day. i just have a constant gag relfex. my doctor said it’s just because the colon is inflamed and that causes other parts of the body to get inflamed, too. my stomach looked terrible when i got an endoscopy so that’s why i threw up a lot. i always have to use a straw for some reason to make swallowing easier.

    have you had an upper GI endoscopy?

  2. Hi Jolie,

    I’ve never had this, nor heard of it, but it looks like Joanna has!

    This is something you should definitely look into. Did you read if it can be helped or cured?

  3. Hi Jolie-
    It sounds to me like you definitely have Achalasia. I am not medical expert, but I can speak from experience. I have been diagnosed with Achalasia, am 28 years old and my symptoms were exactly the same. I don’t know much about Ulcerative Colitis, but to me it sounds like you have two different conditions. I received my diagnosis 2 years ago, and had a POEM procedure. It helped my condition greatly, but it was not a long term fix. I was no longer regurgitating and coughing to the extent I originally was, but after a couple months needed to have a balloon dilation. I still have to drink a lot of water to get food down, but am feeling great. I can deal with it now. Read up on Achalasia and find a good doctor in NZ. Best of luck to you!

    1. After regurgitating the food, were you able to eat normally right away? My husband has these symptoms and they seem to come and go in spurts but it’s happening more often lately.

      1. OMGosh Kelsey! That’s exactly how I am!! I doesn’t happen at every meal, but when it does, I have to run to the bathroom & I usually throw up a ton of phlem & then the food! After it stops, I can return to eating. But it’s exhausting. I’ve made an appointment to see the DR. because too many people have seen this happen with me & are very concerned. I hope it will stop, because I cannot pin-point one certain food that is causing it.

  4. Hi Jolie

    I do have same problem…… Infact in begining i always had cough after every meal
    than i had all those that you mentioned. I haven’t the proper doctor yet.

  5. I had been feelin regurgitation for months already and I have loss a great number of weight. Im not on a diet. I really desired to gain weight however, the vomiting when I eat made my hopes for a weight gain only a dream. I havent consulted a professional on my disorder but I self medicate with supplements but it too was hopeless. How did you deal with it? Is my case achalasia?

  6. I have had this problem for as long as I can remember. I am bipolar and it acts up IMMENSELY when I am having a manic episode (which occurs every couple weeks). My doctors have never focused on it instead looking at the mania and medication. All I can do is wait it out. It is also a precursor to an upcoming manic episode. Many times I’ve been out with friends or family at some one’s home or restaurant and would have to stop after the first bite. After sitting there not eating my meal or drink for sometime (which people thought was odd) I would have to excuse myself and wait outside.

    Not fun. Do what you have to live a easier life. Good luck all.

  7. Hi Jolie,

    I googled my symptoms and your blog came up. You described exactly whant i have been going through. I started having this problem with food getting stuck over 15 years ago. It started out every few months i would get food stuck. I asked the doctor about it and was told i may just have a small esophagus. As I got older it started happening more frequently. My last straw was being put in 2 embarrassing situations when food was stuck and i had to take my daughter to school. If i dont spit out my saliva and it builds up on the food I will vomit. I couldn’t walk my daughter to her class or all the parents would have seen my vomiting. Sometimes i vomit 3 times and sometimes more to dislodge the food. Most of it is always mucous and hardly any food. I go in tomorrow for an endoscopy. I just thought this was something i had to live with. After reading and trying to figure out what was wrong with me it could be so many different things. Going this long could have caused damage to my esophagus and it could be cancer. Has anything changed since this blog? Please let me know how you are doing?
    Aurora Colorado

  8. This is an old discussion, so I hope you can still respond.
    I too came to this site, while trying to find out what my problem is.
    What you said, is exactly what has been happening to me.
    The first time was the day my husband took me out to dinner to celebrate me being pregnant with our first child. 32 years ago. That was the start of it, every so often this would happen, gradually more often.
    I talked to my Doctor about it, he said I had “Acid Reflux”, and gave me a prescription, it didn’t help, I was getting scared,
    again I told him what was going on. I had a few tests, one was a scope, then a swallow test to see how fast I could swallow.
    I had a slight “slowing” so I had to have my throat stretched, It hurt!
    it helped for a year.
    I don’t understand why no one will listen to me.
    I have been so embarrassed.
    I’m afraid to go out to dinner with friends, waste money, i sit and look at my food wanting to eat so bad, but trying to look like nothing is wrong. I have to go to the restroom, stick my finger down my throat, so the thick mucus comes up. I go back to the table, try to sip water, hoping it is over with, look at my food again, listen to everyone ask me if my food is bad?, whats wrong?, I can’t talk because, the sip of water I took is coming up so fast I have abruptly run back to the restroom.
    Meanwhile everyone finishes their wonderful dinner, i have mine packed up to go.
    I wave goodbye to my eleven dollar a glass wine (it’s a lot for me) and leave.

    Im so sick of this!!! What do I say to my doctor? I’ve changed Doctors twice, someones got to know about this, WHO???
    Any help is appreciated.
    Thank you for your consideration,

    1. Hi Leanne, I just got notice of your comment. My only advice is to keep going back to doctors until you find someone who can find an answer. If it helps your could print the comment section of this thread to show them that others are going through this exact same thing
      I’m so sorry you are having such a debilitating time with it. I manage to control mine by sipping water with dinner so it’s not at the stage where I can’t eat as long as I have the water with me.
      I pray there is someone out there who finds a cure for you. Please do share if you have some success with a doctor
      On another note,even my specialist was not wonderful for looking past the symptoms – look into a naturapath who does hemaview, I’ve just been and they did a 2 hour full health overview and took into account ALL my bothers and symptoms. It’s been amazing for highlighting the stress colitis has put on other areas of my body like my lover and it turns out everything has been connected all the while. I am just about to start a vitamin course so am hoping for success

      Good luck to you

  9. My son has just found this blog,,,,, I can’t believe that other people have the same problem. I have the same symptoms as all of you guys. My heart goes out to all of you I have a big family who are forever organising bthday meals I hate having to go because I have not sat through one yet with out going to the toilet to be sick. Doctors don’t want to know but now you have given it a name I will be there this week,, thanks and good luck to all of you.

  10. Hi, I had oral cancer, finished radiotherapy 12 years ago, had 2 throat widening operations because an endoscopy could not be done. Now I get things stuck in my throat (pills which I have to chew with difficulty because the radio treatment ruined my teeth, some foods) and can’t drink liquids, anything, when I have this problem. Annoys the hell out of me and terribly embarrassing in public! Trying to put on weight ;-) and am hungry! Should I go back to my ENT surgeon and have my throat “shut”? ;-)

  11. I have lived with this same issue for over a decade. I have also had others in my family experience it. When the food feels stuck even liquid won’t pass around it. Sometimes if I get up and walk around I can actually feel the food dislodge and then I will be fine for the rest of the meal. My doctor prescribed nexium which works well at preventing this blocking. Unfortunately they are finding lots of side effects to Nexium now. If I take a nexium every 3 days I can stay on top of it and hopefully reduce the possible side effects (bone loss, renal problems etc etc). If I were to not take any nexium for a week the swallowing issue comes right back. The doc calls it acid reflux but I certainly don’t have any burning feeling it’s simply that food gets stuck…doesn’t matter if it’s bread or meat, fruit or vegetables.

  12. I don’t want to take any more drugs! I have one for GERD but I don’t really have heart burn, just stuck food, just have to put up with it I guess! Thanks Daryl :-)

  13. Hi All,

    Just found this site through googling symptoms. Daryl Bell, my symptoms are very close to yours. Happens occasionally, either the food will finally dislodge and go down or, less frequently, I throw it up and then I’m fine. Something that really helped cut down on these incidents was switching from regular roast to dark roast coffee – the dark roast doesn’t turn on the production of acid in your stomach cells. Just this change has cut down on my occurrences by about 80%! Hope this tip helps someone else.

    God bless,

  14. Hi all – have had the same thing. Told no one. The other night I threw up water in the kitchen when a friend came over. It is intermittent and painful. Tonight half a sausage. Now I go straight to bathroom to dislodge the obstruction. My grandmother had myasthenia gravid and I’m too scared to be checked out. Definitely getting worse and often water the main culprit. I also think it’s because I’m under a lot of stress as working sole mum with ASD child and I don’t see down to properly chew and drink. I rush through eating drinking like its s chore. Any thoughts on this? K

    1. Hiya, a follow up from my last rite up.
      I went to the hospital and the surgeon wrote on my sheet that he thought it was a malignant tumour. 5 weeks later a “better” doctor told me there was nothing wrong and it was all clear. Over the years acid has come up and burnt my throat making it so narrow I could not swallow. He has enlarged my esphogus with a Baloon filled with water enabling me to now swallow naturally.

  15. Dear people,
    You have got to go to hospital to have it checked out. I have never heard of acid burning your throat so there are other reasons and maybe you don’t have U C. You owe it your selves and your loved ones, I can now eat properly after 17 years I wish you all the same improvement.

  16. Hi…I have a similar issue where, when I eat, I can maybe get 3 to 4 bites in, then I choke and throw up. My eyes water, tears pour down my face and my vomit is always covered in bile and mucous. I was originally diagnose with an esophageal hiatus hernia but when I had a second endoscopy last thursday, the doctor said there was no hernia present and prescribes proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux that I do not have. He wants to have me go for an xray where they are going to feed me marshmallows dipped in barium solution so they can see what happens. I know what will happen, the barfcapades. I have lost over 25 pounds in the last year and its getting progressively worse. Oh and the doctor told me it was likely all in my head…

    1. The barg spade would be great since it would shoe good getting stuck. I’m afraid because this week it happened three times. It is ruining my night s. It is getting worse. The new trick is that copious mucus now comes out of my nose in addition to my mouth. And it hurts bad feels like I can’t breath and I certainly can’t relax.

  17. Hi all,

    I’m not a doctor and I do know that by taking Nexium (proton pump inhibitor) I can completely avoid these occurrences. Since Nexium solves the problem it must be related to stomach acid. Nexium isn’t an instant solution…you need to take it for 4 or 5 days to get everything under contro land then I find I can take it maybe 2 or 3 times per week and stay on top of things. Long term use of Nexium is showing side effects related to bone loss and kidney issues. I am going to try another acid reducer (maybe Zantac) to see if that is effective without the potential side effects.

  18. I’ve been on a here a bit and tonight had an awful long lasting bad experience. I tried to eat boneless almonds chicken with rice and thought I wound die. Obviously, I couldn’t finish eating but hours later I was still hungry and the same thing started again and would not let go. After third win up more mucus And thinking I still had to. But, Instead I picked up a pice of gum. I cannot tell you Hoe much better I felt in minutes. . Mine happened to be stride lemon berry gum. It is sugarless. Bychewing you still swallow spit and it seemed to be putting it back together. Helping you relax. I feel so much better. I’ll wait to eat but at least it doesn’t hurt like it did. It’s worth a try. It worked for me. I almost want to go eat again! But, in think I’ll wait.

    1. I couldn’t wait anymore. I was too hungry. After chewing gum for 1/2 hour I ate. Slow and careful. But I ate. All of it no problem maybe I will chew gum for a bit before I eat. Also both of the last time the food I did eat had not been reheated. Just left room term statute. I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I’m full now! And feel much better!

  19. I’ve since been, as of my last post, to the barrium xray where that doctor told me I have an esophageal motility disorder. The specialist referred me to a study being done at the Humber Hospital for Jan. 4th of this year. The test was to insert a tube up my nostril and down my throat where the machine the tube was attached to could see where the difficulty was as I sipped juice for half an hour. That was the plan. What ended up happening was I threw up the water she had me swallowing as she inserted the tube. Couldn’t do it. Now the specialist tells me he can’t help me. A doctor whose field of specificity is gastroenterology, says he can’t help me. Reluctantly, he referred me to the doctor running the study and I was called to say that this doctor, who I’ve never met, refused the referral because he couldn’t help me either. By their own admission they have stated that they don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve since sent a formal complaint to the college of physicians and surgeons. Now I have a new doctor, I throw up constantly and my quality of life is dehydration, hunger and maddening headaches. Yay…

  20. Bump starting an old thread here. I’ve suffered from what me and my wife have christened “bread lumps” for some years on and off. I can be eating (usually a sandwich, hence the name) and at some random point, it’s like I’ve got a ball of bread in my throat that won’t shift or can only be got rid of with water.

    This week , I’ve had two episodes part way though a normal meal where it’s felt like my throat has been folded in two, massive pain more or less where my Adam’s Apple is, nothing shifts it other than going to the bathroom and throwing up. I know I’ve not swallowed a whole sea urchin, but if I had, that’s what it’s feel like.

    Oddly, only part of what I’ve eaten comes back up and it’s usually full of spit/mucus. For example, earlier this week, I’d eaten my main meal then had yogurt and some fruit; the yogurt came back up, not a single piece of fruit. Last night, it was sausages, potato and peas; just potato and a bit of sausage, no peas.

    No idea what’s causing it, but it’s agony when it happens and my wife is a bit pissed off with it.

  21. My situation began last September (2019) and has progressively worsened to where I can’t go more than two days without complications. There is no rhyme nor reason as to what brings it on. Happens at all times of the day at home or out to a restaurant. I can eat chicken wings at a restaurant, have a blockage after the second wing and then five minutes later in the head vomiting. Before my nights over I will have vomited 4-5 more times. Always begins with lots of mucous followed later by chunks. Crazy thing is the next day I can eat the leftover wings and have no issues. Happens with all types of foods. I recently saw a Gastrointestinal Doc who ordered, in the past two weeks, an upper GI, a scope and a CT Scan. All were, as Doc said, “unremarkable.” Keeps telling me I have abdominal issues. After seeing these posts I’m convinced I have Achalasia. One thing for sure is it is not acid reflux. Why would my GI DOC not click to this. I’m now pursuing an appointment at MAYO. thanks for all your comments.

    1. Hey Jim,
      If you think something is more wrong than your doctor thinks…definitely a great idea to get a second opinion. At the end of the day, you know the feelings your are feeling inside,…and it is often hard to have others understand without him/her jumping to other conclusions (no matter how smart they are/aren’t..)

      Wishing you the best,

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