Oesophageal Patients Association
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Pouch causing coughing?

My husband has had a problem with bouts of severe coughing (to the point where he has difficulty breathing!), often brought on by eating dry food but also can happen at anytime. A consultant did a barium scan and said he had a slight pouch and a lazy epiglottis but hasn't recommended any treatment except drinking water with his food. It is very embarrassing for him if we are out with friends for a meal as sometimes his food gets stuck and he has to vomit it back up to clear his throat...a quick trip to the loo is a frequent occurrence. Can anyone help with advice or relate to this problem? Many thanks.

2 Replies

Hi I had this problem 12 month post op. I undestand the embarrasment of rushing to the loo to be sick. I phoned my specialist nurse and she arrang ed for me to have a stretch done, its done under general anastetic so simple. Hope this helps. Best wishes Sandra


You do not say whether he has had an oesophagectomy (oesophagus removed) or not. If so, contact the specialist Upper GI nurse and ask for a check up.

The pouch may have developed because the food is not clearing through the lower oesophageal sphincter (at the junction between oesophagus and stomach), but the barium meal examination should have shown whether this is happening or not.

I think your husband should go to your GP and emphasise that this is a serious swallowing problem, which indeed it is, and ask for further advice. The GP may well have a copy of the consultant's report and may be able to interpret it more thoroughly.

If food gets stuck it may be a sign, amongst other things, that the muscles driving the peristalsis / motility are not working properly. This may (or may not) be an achalasia type problem, and if so, it requires an Upper GI expert to make a proper diagnosis, because it is unusual.

I do not think you and your husband should ignore this.


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