Monday, July 11, 2016

How To Dislodge A Pill That Is Stuck In Your Throat

Having A Pill Get Stuck In Your Throat Is Can Be Scary

What You Can Do To Remove A Pill Stuck In Your Esophagus 

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Here's several easy ways you can dislodge pills stuck in your throat. I've also included some tips I haven't seen elsewhere for getting that pill down. 

It can be really scary when you have a vitamin, capsule, stubborn pill stuck in your esophagus. and you're wondering what to do to remove it. Pronto. 

You can skip my 'word fluff' here, and scroll down a bit if you're in the midst of trying to get the culprit out of your throat. It can be an ordeal indeed. Hopefully, my how-to will work for you or a loved one.


First, I am not a doctor or medical professional and if you have trouble breathing, by all means, call 911 and pronto!





You Need to Dislodge a Capsule That Is stuck In Your Esophagus (throat)


Capsules can be a challenge for two reasons: If your throat is dry, capsules can stick anywhere in the mouth. I had a capsule stuck to my lip, and when I peeled it away the very thin skin came with it ~ big OUCH! The other really important reason capsule-type pills can be a problem is the medication inside them.

Some medication will burn your esophagus once the capsule dissolves. For this reason, I recommend you do this:

If you can swallow but still feel the pill in your throat, heat milk or tea until very warm in the microwave. Dissolve a bit of baking soda in the warm liquid (milk, tea, even hot cocoa). You only need 1/4 teaspoon of the baking soda; it may help neutralize the caustic acid of the medication. If you don't have baking soda, chew (until very fine) an antacid, or sip a dose of liquid antacid. 

You will still need the very warm liquid to dissolve the capsule. Be careful you don't heat the liquid to too hot; then you will have more problems. Sip the liquid until the capsule is dislodged from your throat and fully on its way to your stomach. If the pill is just moving about, try taking a large gulp.

Your mind can take over and work against you on this last swallow, causing your throat muscles to become tight. Try to relax by thinking positive and swallowing normally.

Do NOT bring your mouth down to the drink! Bring the cup up level with your mouth, then move your head forward just a little, drink normally. A straw can help aim the liquid toward the capsule. I've had plenty of pills stuck in my throat and moving my head forward has cut down the incidence by 98%.

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You Have A Vitamin Tablet or Caplet Stuck In Your Throat

(if you are alone, text someone that you are having trouble)

Vitamins and medication in tablet, caplet (capsule-shaped pill) form can take longer to dislodge than capsules, but don't panic. Getting upset will only work against you. Do not try to vomit by sticking things in your throat! You need to be in control as best as you can of where the pill is going, and fingers may make your problem worse.

Throat Sprays Like Pill Glide Can Help
First, put a pea-sized bit of butter or oil on your tongue. Work it around until your mouth is coated. Swallow gently. Repeat. Heat tea, coffee, cocoa, milk or anything you have on hand--even water. Make sure you have enough liquid to dislodge a stubborn pill. Bring the drink up to your lips'  level. Move your head forward, then sip. Don't tense up or your throat muscles may constrict. 

Hopefully, the butter/oil and the very warm beverage will dissolve the vitamin or pill enough to swallow it. If you gag, let it happen naturally; don't force anything. If you feel like the pill is in a 'iffy' place, slowly inhale through your nose and cough; never resist gagging, but focus on breathing ONLY through your nose any time you think you could choke. 


NOTE: This is good practice with food, too. A panicked breath through the mouth will drive lettuce, hot dogs, etc. further. Control your breath, inhaling through the nose, cough up the pill or food, followed by more breaths through the nose until you are sure of yourself.

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Ways To Avoid Getting Pills, Capsules and Tablets Stuck In Your Throat: Why This May Be Happening


Make Sure Your Pill Is Safe To Split
I bet you're asking, "Why do pills keep getting stuck in my throat?" Well, you're not alone; it happened to me--too often. And the more I thought about it, I could almost count on a sort of mind game where any pill: capsule, caplet, tablet . . . well, you get it . . . would get lodged in my esophagus. Why? What was I doing? You may find yourself in what I describe:

Over the course of several years, I figured out why (for me) pills kept getting stuck in my throat. You'd think I was a slow learner having so many years go by and not much relief in the pill-gets- stuck department. Well, I kept hoping that changing my vitamin from tablet to capsule would remedy the problem. Then, hoping that large pill being traded out for a smaller one would fix things. Or the big tablet for a caplet . . . or, well, whatever; you get this, too. I think my first two or three harrowing experiences had me so nervous I unwittingly tensed my throat, making swallowing pills crazy-difficult.




Here's some tips that work for me (pardon any redundancies):          



Cheap pill crushers work well
  • Be sure you always take a drink of water before you place the pill on your tongue
  • Move the capsule or tablet around in your mouth to make sure it's wet all around
  • If you just can't seem to get any pill down--even when it's wet--you might coat it in a bit of oil or butter.
  • Make sure capsules end up vertically on your tongue before you take a drink. Curl your tongue to be sure the pill is longways, if necessary. 
  • Keep your drink counter height; this helps remind you to bring the glass to your mouth
  • For some reason, moving your head forward keeps swallowing less an effort
  • Use soda and a straw. But make sure the straw isn't too narrow or you'll have to suck harder, and the pill will be all the more difficult to get down. 
  • Don't swallow your pill with warm or hot liquid. Your capsule will melt in your mouth and may burn your esophagus with its caustic contents. Warm liquid will melt the protective coating on many pills. Only use warm liquid when the pill is stuck.
  • Use a pill splitter if your doctor or pharmacist says it's safe to do so.
  • Pill crushers are handy, too. Usually, if you can split a pill, it's safe to crush. You can buy one, or place the pill between a cloth napkin folded over, then use the bottom of a thick glass to pound it into powder. 


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Well, that about sums things up. If you have a tip or want to express your experience trying to swallow a pill, I'd love your comment!