Ataxia UK

Has anyone seen a Speech and Language Therapist for problems swallowing? Has it helped?

I have Idiopathic CA and just recently I have noticed that I cough, splutter and choke when eating and drinking. Not all the time but enough to be noticeable and cause me discomfort and embarassment. I have been referred to the SLT in Hull and just wondered what experiences others have had.

Also wondered if anyone has had botox for bladder problems. That has been mentioned by the urologist.

12 Replies

Hi jonbon. I too have occasional coughing and cholking probs when I eat or drink. I don't know what causes it but most times I'm okay. It always happens when I am least expecting it. Its very embarrassing moreso when I eat out for lunch.


I too have choking problems. Happens more if i'm tired or stressed. Yes, can be very embarrasing when eating out.


Hi there, yes I seem to choke more now and especially in the mornings (but then all my symptoms are worse in the morning) and I find it's worse with fluids.

my morning problem I try to overcome by a vigorous exercise regime which seems to help, I presume by getting the blood flow to the muscles working well.



hi all I was referred to an SLT she came once told me I was holding my head correctly, to have my main meal at lunch time , when i am less tired, which is impossibly as I am not allowed in the kitchen since my stroke and my husband who is my carer works nights.


Hi.....I have SCA and started a mild cough every now and then and choking sometimes when I eat or drink.

It only lasts a few seconds...I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones.

The specialist I see in Oxford referred me to my doctor and he referred me to a SLT.....she visited once and gave me some good advice that worked for me.

Concentrate on your food or drink when you eat or swallow (no distractions) a lot of MOIST food (like noodles)....this sounds horrible but swallow your saliva more (this helps keep your throat moist)

When you drink out of a bottle....keep your chin down and tip the bottle up.

A SLT certainly you a lot of ideas.....things you never thought about.....helped me greatly.


Hi Jonbon:-)

I had Botox injected into my eye muscle, a nurse told me that it was

known to be helpful with bladder problems too.

For info about Speech and Language Therapist, see AtaxiaUK site,

Wobbly TV episode 4. xB


partner has friedreichs ataxia and has seen SLT for same reason, gave very good advice and techniques for when you eat and drink. He now has his drinks thickened which helps but your SLT will advise you if this is necessary. General things such as taking your time when eating, not talking when eating meal and having sips of fluids during meals helped but SLT will give you advice on all of this. We found seeing SLT very helpful and advice has helped reduce episodes of choking


Hi all,

Thank you all so much for replying to me. All the advice and tips are very helpful, thanks

Nicky :)


My consultant has identified urinary tract disfunction which I've been coping with but having to dash to the loo is all well and good if there is one.

Saw a different GP and asked if she could look in her pills and potions book.

She came up with tolterodine (Detrusitol) which seems do the trick in terms of time and control.

Hope this is helpful.



Hi All - new to Health Unlocked, but am a fellow sufferer (Late Onset Idiopathic Cerebellar Ataxia - diagnosed less than 2 years ago). I have had coughing and choking fits for many years (actually, long before I was told I have CA, which may be long-standing without having been aware of it before, I have been told). Usually when eating DRY food, and unlike most of you, liquids are no problem, although just swallowing saliva can start it off. I always carry a bottle of water with me and try to avoid eating in company if I can help it. Occasionally, and out of the blue, my throat muscles go into spasm, which is very frightening. The prof in the Lung Clinic (which I also attend - aren't I the 'lucky' one?) calls it 'stridor'. I have been re-assured by a former GP that I still get enough oxygen and that the worst thing that can happen is that I faint and then the throat muscles will automatically relax. Has anyone experienced this and been told it might be connected to CA? Take care, all of you - you are a brave bunch! Oniki x


SLT definitely helps (I posted on main site)

I have Urinary Tract Disfunction (UTD) but since taking Tolterodine very much under control with few mishaps.



My Mum and sister have choking, my sister has just been in hospital. It is app your clanger in your throat that closes and food then goes down the wrong hole. she has to eat slowly, small amounts and breath through her nose to get oxegen in


You may also like...