Ataxia and choking

hi I'm new here. Have had ataxia for some 40 years, undiagnosed for some 20 years. SC without a number. Have seen Dr Giunti in the past. Now experiencing problems swallowing. I choke too which is frightening. When actually choking, the object (in this case gum) feels as if it is stuck at the top of my throat.

Your advice please, specially my husband wants to know what he should do.

Thanks x

19 Replies

  • I have also had ataxia symptoms for about 3 years but the choking is recent. I choked really badly the other day and I noticed that I have to concentrate on one thing at a time.e.g. I can't laugh or talk at the same time as eating or drinking. On occasion I've noticed that a fizzy drink or suckling a menthol sweet has helped.

  • I agree that concentrating on only eating or drinking helps a bit, also taking small bites and small sips. One has to always remember to eat and drink carefully. As far as I know, once the choking and coughing starts there is nothing one can do.

  • I have the same problem am now on soft food diet and thickener in my drinks with my food it is trial and error on what to eat some things make me choke some dont but always thickener in my fluidsi had 4 chest infections in 6 wks

  • hi there Xray

    Thanks for your advice. But 4 chest infections :( I am sorry to read that. Are you better now?


  • Hi Sarh-Jane yes having soft food and thickener has helped but do try more normal food from time to time.

    Vickie x

  • Thanks Vickie xx What sort of thickener do you find works best?


  • resource thicken up dont get the clear as it goes lumpy see your gp

  • Thanks Vickie...........will see GP


  • was advised by speach therapist to eat and drink slowly avoid dry food and spicy food

  • Thank you very much gossy x


  • Thank you very much gossy


  • I have experienced this for quite a long time. Speech therapists are the ones who deal with any choking or swallowing problems. I have been given a soft diet sheet and advised to thicken drinks. I suffer from reflux which is often the thing which makes me choke. I have been prescribed Gaviscon Advance which I take after every meal. Also I have a supply of Oramorph Oral Solution which I take very rarely and only if I really can't stop choking. Hope this helps. I really would advise you to ask your speech therapist to assess your swallowing separately to your speech. I hope this is of some help.

  • Thank you very much indeed patricia. I shall talk to my GP to ask for a referral xx


  • always keep hydrated- have lots of water ready to dink as I find if the mouth etc is dry then food sticks. It might be worth asking you GP to refer you to the speech and language therapist as I find she was very helpful in explaining what I need to do to swallow safely- ie sit upright, chin on chest when swallowing, dont eat and talk at the same time etc and be aware of the foods that cause choking eg stringy vegetables and meat like salads and cooked chicken. dont put too much in your mouth at a time and eat smaller pieces- after a while you find out what foods to avoid eg dry toast, biscuits, cake etc chips uses sauces and drinks of water to help you keep moist all the best Sylviax

  • Thank you very much Sylvia. What you advise certainly makes sense. Will speak to GP about Speech Therapist.

    Thank you


  • Hi, I find I must avoid alchohol before a meal, I must have a glass of iced fruit juice handy to sip and I must avoid stress, I must avoiding distracting thoughts leading to any anxiety, I must avoid chewy meat, I must not eat bread before or with a meal.

    Apart from that.......

    These are all musts with a capital M.

    Good luck


  • hi Andy

    Thank you for your reply. Everything you and other posters have said make sense. Its not a question of 'head in the sand', more like common sense. I realise that a deep breath in while sucking a sweet is suicide.

    Thank you all


  • Hi, i had this but spoke to my gastro consultant about this (i also have coeliac disease). He prescibed lanszoprazol and buscopan. The night chocking stopped and haven't had this in over a year. I will and still do choke out occasionally during the day and get hiccups if i forget to take them before a meal.

  • I get the same problem so I know how scared you are, but I have only had this for the last two years. I wish I could be of more help but you need to try and stay calm. Lots of pillows on the bed seems to help. I think it happens more with tension, but I am no doctor.

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