Asthma UK community forum

Anyone with swallowing problems?

My daughter chokes alot and had food found in her lungs on her bronchoscopy. She was therefore diagnosed with 'aspiration' and referred to a speech therapist.

last week she had a video xray which looked at her swallowing mechanism. The results came back today showing her swallowing trigger was not working! Apparently due to breathing problems.

Does anyone else have similar? I really don't know what this means with regards to the future.


5 Replies

i have problems with swallowing, but not has been diagnosed. i often choke on drink more then food, i think i also swallow air


learning to swallow

Sounds like you have too much going on with your swallow (we change from an infant swallow to an adult swallow, but some people don't make the switch and end up with similar story to whats happening with you

You can teach your daughter to swallow correctly.

You can also teach her where to put her tongue (known as the N spot). Make the Sound N (or Na) where her tongue rests behind her upper gum is where it is designed to be all the time (i found out and moved my tongue there 2 years ago-it was tiring for about 3 weeks until got used to being there, to do it you need to breathe through your nose as our tongues close off the mouth to breathing in this position). There are various techniques for changing to nose breathing from mouth breathing and are vital in better health (mental and dental too).

For swallowing, get some ice cream wafer or some bread. Break off a bit the size of a ten pence piece. Chew it until she can make it into a ball. Shape her tongue into a hollow and place the ball near the front of the mouth.

Now get her to place her tongue on the N spot mentioned above and close her teeth pressing tongue againts the roof of her mouth and not the teeth...

Swallow sucking at the same time. THe teeth should bite together. Get her to hold her lips apart in a big grin to help the back of the tongue rise up and stops the lips being involved in the swallow. With the lips apart you can check if she did it correctly - with a correct swallow there is no sign from the outside of your face (cheeks moving).

Check (if on her own can check with a mirror) if any of the bread is left on her tongue. Make sure her tongue is at the roof of the mouth when she note that we swallow alot of times per day subconsciously......

Good luck with it,


I choked on food and drink pre asthma confirmed. Preventer inhaler mostly stopped it.

@buteyko'd - Know what you mean about the swallowing, Buteyko'd. Never really feel I swallow like everyone else eg can't walk and eat or drink at the same time like rest of my family. Always have to stop to drink or take bit of sweetie. It's almost as if my throat closes otherwise plus my nose runs.


Hi Emily

Did you spend some time with the speech & language therapist afterwards to discuss management? (I am a speech & language therapist by the way). If your daughter is aspirating on a regular basis this would lead to frequent chest infections so it is important to try and minimise this. It might be worth trying some thickener for her drinks - this acts to slow down the flow of liquid and gives her extra time to coordinate her swallow. If it is not considered necessary you could try drinks which are naturally a bit thicker e.g. banana smoothie, fruit nectar etc. Without seeing her videofluoroscopy myself I would not be able to tell you whether this was needed, but the therapist you saw would be able to. When she is eating/drinking try to make sure that the environment is as relaxed as possible and don't rush mealtimes. It is best not to have the TV on so that she is not distracted.

If you have not had a chance to discuss management, then do ask for advice from the therapist who saw your daughter. Ask about the sorts of food which are best to give her and what is best avoided (for example foods of ""mixed"" consistency can cause problems e.g surprisingly apple as when you bite it the juice flows out before you have had chance to finish chewing).

Most of all don't worry about her food/eating. The last thing you want is for her to develop anxieties around mealtimes and food. Even children with fairly significant problems can enjoy food safely.

Best Wishes



Thank you all so much for your replies.

Valerie, thank you for your expertise. Our speech therapist phoned with the results and is coming in a fortnight to go through the video with us. In the meantime she is sending some guidelines to follow while maddie eats.

Apparently her drinking was ok, it was the food. She has a delayed swallow trigger so it sits for a while on the back of her Tongue before she swallows. She coughs alot while eating and drinking so it must happen alot I guess, poor thing. She gets repeated infections. I'm trying to keep her sat down and things calm while eating. Mealtime are fine, but snack time are proving more tricky!

Thanks again for your supportive replies.


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