Should I be concern if my mother-in-law tries to clear her throat every time she eats?

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I have notice for awhile that every time the mnl eats it sounds like she is trying to clear her throat. When I give her medicine after is done eating, she will mention that she needs to clear her throat n get the food down. she always has plenty of something to drink n sometimes if she needs more liquid she will get it. I ask his her throat okay n she will say nothing is wrong that she just needs to clear her throat. Yet, she does it a lot yet only after eating anything. Should I be concern n bring this up to her next physician appointment?

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
Yes, She may need a swallow study to find out if she is at risk of aspiration. On a personal note, my Dad does this, for some reason food sticks a few minutes on the side of his throat. So he is supposed to have thickened liquids and soft foods now.
My mom has this problem and soft and pureed foods was the solution. She's fine with thin liquids. See how she does with apple sauce or something like that but do consult your physician asap.
Good morning... So there are many reason a person will need to clear there throat.
Obviously one of the scariest is aspiration but there are other reasons as well such as ex smokers for example the best way to deal with this is observe her while she is eating ...do her eyes water or is she gasping as she is chewing etc some of these signs might lean towards aspiration and you should contact her physician about this either way it could be signs of other things as well.
Good luck and please keep us posted
You should definitely bring this up to the doctor. She might have an eroded esophagus (I did at one point) and need meds . Also, she might have sinus drainage from an infection or a lung disorder.There can also be throat cancer. A friend of mine lost his dad to throat cancer and he had the same symptom.
I would definitely approach her MD for evaluation. There are many issues with swallowing - aspiration being one of them but growths intruding into the throat/esophagus might be happening, Barretts Esophagus a condition leading to cancer might also be involved. A swallow study is usually relatively painless and quick. Hopefully, its nothing serious but....
Thanks u all n yes she was a smoker for years. I only have noticed it after eating like she is trying to clear her throat n nothing comes up. She will get something to drink n she is okay. Late in after noon n after supper I notice she tries to clear her throat more. Sounds a bit like me when my sinus act up at night. She saids she never had sinus so that may need to be checked into as well. She is not choking or grasping for air just clearing her throat a lot. I will bring it to her doctors next appointment with is every 3 months anyway.
Top Answer
The above responses have a lot of good information, and I'm going to add a little more, since I have treated swallowing disorders for years. Although I do NOT intend this as medical advice! You should definitely discuss this with her doctor, and ask for a swallowing study. You don't mention if there is a history of stroke, or any neurological problems, but throat clearing can be a sign of many things. It can be as simple as a hiatal hernia to partial paralysis of the structures involved (usually due to stroke). When the throat clearing happens during meals, and is helped by the use of fluid, this usually indicates "vallecular pooling" or stasis, and/or food building up in the "pyriform sinuses" which are bags that catch spillover from the "epiglottis" (the flap that covers your windpipe during swallowing). The person has a feeling that the food didn't go all the way down, because it didn't - remnants are pooled in those throat areas. Therefore, they reflexively clear their throat, which causes the food to be forced upward, back into the area where they can swallow again and make it go down the esophagus. They do well using fluids, because it floods and clears those areas of un-swallowed food build-up. Anyway, it is often treated by what she is already doing naturally, and actually encouraging strong throat-clearing after each bite, but therapists can also teach a program for avoiding the pooling (usually simple things like tucking the chin during each swallow, etc.). The important thing is, get a "Modified Barium Swallow" study done (the doctor will order one when you describe these symptoms), and meanwhile, have her keep doing the throat clearing and re-swallowing, and using sips of fluid if that makes it better. Ask her never to lay down to sleep until she's sure her throat is clear, as having pooled foods in those areas I spoke of can make them leak down the windpipe during sleep, and that can indeed lead to "aspiration pneumonia." Good luck with this, and get her to the doctor ASAP! I do NOT intend any of the above info as a replacement for the advice of an MD or as treatment!!!

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