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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Choking On Food
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34 posts in this topic

I've been choking a lot when I eat. I don't think it is any particular food. It seems to get stuck as I try to swallow it.

I've always been a slow eater, but I am particularly slow the past couple of years. Not because of the fear of choking on food though. I just take a long while to chew and I guess I find it hard to swallow anything that's not completely mashed. :(

Meat just may be the hardest food for me to swallow. I really have a hard time with steak, so don't eat it too often.

Last night, it happened again, and really scared me. I was eating organic chicken drumsticks (pan fried in olive oil) with whole baby beans, sweet potato and Basmati rice.

I'm not sure if the rice is a problem for me. I get pain from normal white rice, so I don't eat it anymore.

I choked on a bite of the chicken, and had a hard time for a while before I could spit it out...sorry about the graphic details. :ph34r: ...but that's how it was, and often is.

My husband really doesn't know what to do what this happens, and so panics and bangs me on my back.. <_< where I hurt from fibromyalgia-type pain.

Does anyone know why I may be choking, and is this a common thing with celiac disease? Also, should I see a doctor about it?

My General Practicioner (GP) is the only doctor I see apart from if he refers me to a specialist. I feel that he isn't interested in my celiac disease problems, so I'm thinking of changing GPs.

Trouble is, as is probably the case with all of us, , my medical records are as long as both my arms put together. :(

Sorry this is so long. I know I'm having a whinge, but you guys are really all I've got to 'talk' to.

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Just guessing here but it could be a condition known as Barrets Esophagus. This condition is tied to GERD or Acid Reflux Disease and causes a narrowing of the Esophagus. I don't know what else you could do but continue to chew your food as well as possible.

Best of Luck

Cleveland Bob :)

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This is probably not related to celiac disease. You could have an esophageal stricture or Barrets Esophagus, as the previous reply suggested. You probably need to have an EGD (endoscopy scope down your esophagus) to find out what is going on. The esophagus can be "stretched" to decrease your symptoms. They can do it when they do the EGD. Do you have a GI doctor that you see? He/she should be able to help you with this. If not, get a referral from your GP.

Good Luck! :)

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My husband, which has celiac disease, had the same problem. During his small intestine biopsy they were able to view his esophagus. They found he had GERD. For 3 months he took Prilosec which healed the serious damage. He feels so much better now. I also recommend getting a scope of your esophagus. It's a simple procedure. His GI Dr. informed us this is not related to celiac disease.

Have a good day,

Stacy

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well maggie--here we go again---ME TOO---most of my life, more so as of the last several years---years ago i was told by the doctor that i was born with a malformed esphogas---i too choke on food--some foods more so then others---the worst food for me is some puddings, pineapple, bread, and meats-----my dad has the same problem and so does my sweetie at times---and--i dont believe it has anything to do with celiacs---deb

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Hi Deb,

I agree with what everyone else posted regarding GER or GERD. Just wanted to fill you in on my personal experience with this topic as another option. My daughter (who has Celiac) had this same problem, until her tonsils were removed. Basically, they were so large, they obstructed her airway, making it difficult for food to travel to her esophagus. So, she choked...a lot. Another thought is if you ate gluten for many years before eliminating it from your diet (sorry my short term memory forgets how long you have been gluten-free). You may have dental problems that result in the inability to effectively chew your food throughly. So, you may be swallowing food that simply isn't digested enough to be swallowed, thus resulting in choking. I tend to have this problem because of soft teeth/ bad molars. However, I do not have Celiac. I know teeth issues go with celiac disease so the connection just came to mind. Obviously, this isn't the issue for Celiac's who have problems with soft foods, like the one's who described their problems with GER. I hope this adds another possible solution to your problem... Good Luck.

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I had this symptom for years! The first bite of each meal was always hard to get down and got so bad the last year that I would vomit a bit sometimes. This has completely resolved since going gluten-free for me. Sorry it hasn't done the same for you :(

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Hi, sorry to hear you are having such problems. I have have GERD and celiac disease. The last time I had an endoscopy the doc stretched my esophogus because I too was choking on everything. It did help for a while, but has returned so that I have trouble swallowing pills and even fluids. It does help if you take a drink of water before a bite of food, but I choke on that sometimes too. Wish there was an easy answer but I sure haven't found one. Good Luck to you!

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I have the swallowing problem but do not have GERD. My family watches me like a hawk when I eat because it can be such a problem. I have the neurological damage and the docs think that is the cause for me. It has gotten much better the longer I am gluten-free, though it still comes and goes some.

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So, it seems like choking can be caused by either GERD or neurological damage. Does anyone have any good links on Celiac and neurological damage? I would like to understand why I used to choke on food. I never had heartburn or any other problems like that, so I'm leaning towards the latter. Thanks!

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I had the same problem for over a year. I went to a all time low weight of 113 lbs because I was so afraid to eat. I would wake up the morning after I had a cup of cocoa and burp up pure cocoa without stomach acid. When I told my doctor about this he said it was "physiologically impossible" and emotional and sent me to a Psychologist. Apparently this disorder was considered rare in women, and only really seen in older men. I don't seem to fit into most statistical norms though.

Luckilly I moved 100 miles away and got a correct diagnosis when my (new) rheumatologist sent me to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. I had barium swallow which showed a Zenkers Diverticulum in my esophogus that was almost the size of my thumb. It's a pouch, which could hold large amounts of food, pills, vitamins and drink and would cut off my throat (and breathing) when it filled up and caught the edge of another peice of food. I can't tell you how many choking instances I had.

The pouch was surgically removed and sewn up and eventually I healed. The damage to my health was massive, because my previously undiagnosed autoimmune issues went haywire.

I hope you find out what is bothering you, because I can really empathise with the whole matter. Best of luck on finding out the cause.

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I can't remember right now where I finally found some really good info on the neurological damage and the muscle spasms. When my brain works again, I'll try to remember to check and post the info here. Right now I am just having one of those days...well, weeks.

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I need to revive this forum to see if anyone else suffers from this. I had problems choking on food (mostly meat) for years, particularly the ones before I was diagnosed with Celiac. This would happen almost every day. After I started the gluten-free diet, this symptom disappeared completely. I didn't have any episodes for over a year. WELL, now I am pregnant and the symptom is back (along with a couple other things like restless leg syndrome, etc). I don't have any other GI symptoms. My only thought is that it might be related to lack of nutrients in some fashion. I know that when you are pregnant the baby basically hogs all your vitamins, leading to muscle cramps, etc. Could this choking be due to that too?

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I need to revive this forum to see if anyone else suffers from this. I had problems choking on food (mostly meat) for years, particularly the ones before I was diagnosed with Celiac. This would happen almost every day. After I started the gluten-free diet, this symptom disappeared completely. I didn't have any episodes for over a year. WELL, now I am pregnant and the symptom is back (along with a couple other things like restless leg syndrome, etc). I don't have any other GI symptoms. My only thought is that it might be related to lack of nutrients in some fashion. I know that when you are pregnant the baby basically hogs all your vitamins, leading to muscle cramps, etc. Could this choking be due to that too?

Are you taking prenatal vitamins and if so are you sure they are gluten-free?

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Pregnancy puts an immense pressure on the stomach and esophagus. I had trouble with eating each time I was pregnant because of it. It could be the revival of your choking is only because of the pregnancy.

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Others have already thrown out quite a few possibilities, so I'll add one more. My grandmother has had this problem for years -- it was one of the first symptoms of her scleroderma, another autoimmune disorder that causes hardening of the connective tissue.

It sounds as though there are alot of possible causes, so I hope you're talking to your doctor about it. I hope you find a solution, because it must be scary. I remember being scared as a kid when my grandmother would choke while eating -- it happened for the first time ever when she and I were out shopping and having lunch in a cafe. We both remember it vividly!

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My husband has something similar happen to him (he does not have Celiac's). He talked to our doctor about it and she said it could just be spasms but if it continues, they will scope him. It's quite scary- I wouldn't hold off if I were you. I have GERD and Celiac's and before I was diagnosed with GERD I felt like I had a potato chip stuck in my chest 24 hours a day. I never had trouble swallowing but quite a bit of trouble keeping things down (throughout my entire life).

A friend of mine has nutcracker esophagus which is where swallowing contractions are too powerful. Let us know what happens. B

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Many people like me who have neurological damage develop swallowing problems. So far I have only the ataxia and hopefully being gluten-free will stop further progression of the problem. I will hunt up some articles that I have on the subject. Claire

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Maggie-

No time to read through the whole thread so excuse me if I"m being redundant... A few thoughts on the chocking problem:

schatzki's ring http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000208.htm (my uncle had this and it caused him to choke on food)

a yeast infection in the throat--yup it happens

an esophagus that needs to be dialated (due to inflammation from ie. reflux--but reflux does not have to be noticeable for this to occur)

an allergy (my husband, around the time his allergies are bad, has a reaction to chicken where it gets stuck in his throat and causes him to choke...very strange, but happens every year)

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I've been choking a lot when I eat. I don't think it is any particular food. It seems to get stuck as I try to swallow it.

Maggie, I just joined this forum because I'm about to be tested for Celiac Disease. I have multiple autoimmune diseases, Addison's, Hashimoto's, familial hyperlipidemia and Myasthenia Gravis plus Persistent Asthma and zero iron stores (have to take infusions). I also have Barrett's Esophagus BUT the MG is the cause of my choking. Since I was diagnosed a few months ago and put on Mestinon I have almost stopped choking. I would even choke on my own saliva before. Don't want to scare you....just wanted you to be aware that is one of the symptoms of systemic MG. Nancy

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My daughter has HORRIBLE choking problems. She's 11 months and has been through soooo much. Open heart surgery, projectile vomiting, Nissen, G tube and now getting ready for another heart surgery. The ONLY thing she can tolerate is breast milk and trust me, we've tried everything. I'm having a hard time keeping up with her since she won't nurse. Anyway, any time we try to feed her baby food she has the horrible and intense choking spells. She turns purple and will vomit if anything is in her stomach. It goes on up to 5 mins at a time. We're going to a feeding clinic next month (earliest we could get in). I've taken her to so many doctors with it, but no one wants to touch her because of her heart. Thanks for the things mentioned here. I'm going to bring them up. If anyone has any advice, please let me know. We're grasping at straws at this point. :(

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Maggie, I used to have the same problem. I choked frequently, and after choking once, I'd choke several times more that day and had to be extremely careful.

Since finding out what ALL my intolerances are, including gluten, I don't have that problem any more. I agree that you should probably have your esophagus checked. But it could also be other intolerances.

I have a hiatus hernia, and used to have horrible acid reflux that was so bad that I had to sleep with my head elevated. It had caused me to have an ulcer in the esophagus (found out by looking in there with a scope) several years ago.

I ONLY get acid reflux or heartburn now if I eat any of the forbidden foods. As long as I avoid them completely I am fine.

So, any of you with GERD, you may want to test for other food intolerances. Avoiding offending food is always superior to taking meds.

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I've been choking a lot when I eat. I don't think it is any particular food. It seems to get stuck as I try to swallow it.

I've always been a slow eater, but I am particularly slow the past couple of years. Not because of the fear of choking on food though. I just take a long while to chew and I guess I find it hard to swallow anything that's not completely mashed. :(

Meat just may be the hardest food for me to swallow. I really have a hard time with steak, so don't eat it too often.

Last night, it happened again, and really scared me. I was eating organic chicken drumsticks (pan fried in olive oil) with whole baby beans, sweet potato and Basmati rice.

I'm not sure if the rice is a problem for me. I get pain from normal white rice, so I don't eat it anymore.

I choked on a bite of the chicken, and had a hard time for a while before I could spit it out...sorry about the graphic details. :ph34r: ...but that's how it was, and often is.

My husband really doesn't know what to do what this happens, and so panics and bangs me on my back.. <_< where I hurt from fibromyalgia-type pain.

Does anyone know why I may be choking, and is this a common thing with celiac disease? Also, should I see a doctor about it?

My General Practicioner (GP) is the only doctor I see apart from if he refers me to a specialist. I feel that he isn't interested in my celiac disease problems, so I'm thinking of changing GPs.

Trouble is, as is probably the case with all of us, , my medical records are as long as both my arms put together. :(

Sorry this is so long. I know I'm having a whinge, but you guys are really all I've got to 'talk' to.

I have had problems swallowing for the last few years. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in february 2006. Not sure if it is related, but I do have alot of problems mostly with meat and bread. I have heard liquids/saliva squeak in my throat sometimes. When I accidently was glutened a few days ago, the problem increased. Anyone else experience this?

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I actually have had the same exact problem, with symptoms getting worse for about 5 years. I had an esophageal manometry done last week and apparently I have simultaneous contractions of my esophagus (it's supposed to contract sequentially from top to bottom) so basically mine can't get any food down. Are there any other celiacs with this diagnosis?

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This can be caused by thryoid disorder. Get your thyroid levels checked.

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