Food Getting Stuck!

Hi, I have suffered with bouts of heartburn/refulx for a few years but just before Christmas 2016 I had the feeling that food was getting stuck in my gullet and it was very uncomfortable. I have experienced this before but it had always gone away without any need to visit the gp. I went to the docs who prescribed a course of Lansoprazole which was miraculous and cleared everything. I finished the course 5 days ago and the discomfort has returned. I haven't had any heartburn but that horrible feeling of food not going down is back. My question is do I go back to the gp and ask them to refer me for an endoscopy? I'm not usually a worrier but my darling mum was diagnosed and died from cancer of the oesopgagus in 2008 so naturally, my imagination is in overdrive! Thank you in advance for any advice and, by the way I am 57 years old and new to this group.

16 Replies

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  • Please do go back to your GP and ask for an endoscopy. Otherwise, you'll go on wondering and worrying. If there is a problem, the sooner it's treated the better. And if there's no problem, there's no problem!

  • I agree entirely with patchwork go back to your GP.With your Mums history he should refer you for an Endoscopy. It could all be clear but you will never know until your checked out.

    All the best

    Phil

  • Without a shadow of a doubt something is going on and that something is recurrent, over a period of several years.

    That Lansoprazole appears to grant relief is encouraging, allowing one to speculate that perhaps the problem is not structural, such as an anatomical defect in one of the three sphincters or a failure in the peristaltic swallowing mechanism.

    But by the same token it may point to a transient condition such as inflammation of the oesophagus which necessarily implies the potential for displasia. Displasia is the term given to the changes to the characteristics of the cells which line the gullet, as induced by the action of chemical components contained in reflux. In the long-term displasia can lead to Barrett's, which can,rarely, progress to carcinoma.

    Whatever. Given the possibility that heredity may be relevant you need to find out what is going on, now. Happily you are relatively young.

    Endoscopy is the definitive investigative tool since it enables the skilled operator to visually inspect, photograph and sample the inside of the oesophagus from top to bottom. It is not cheap so you may encounter some resistance in getting the necessary referral - this will be a function of where you live (the so-called 'post code lottery'), your GP and your relationship with that practitioner. It is possible that you will be offered some precursor investigation such as manometry, which measures swallowing pressures, but given your history I don't think you should be fobbed off with anything less that the full-on procedure. In any event the important thing is to get started into the diagnostic chain asap.

    Lastly, there is no need to have any misgivings about endoscopy. Provided you receive the appropriate analgesia it is in no way an unpleasant procedure.

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

  • Check for achalasia , I had it fixed 2 plus weeks ago now starting to leave soft food diet . Keep u posted but check that out. M

  • Yes. Ask for an endoscopy. It's the only thing that will give you a definitive answer. Haward

  • I would definitely go back to GP and ask to be sent for endoscopy asap, I had same problem with food getting stuck and was sent for endoscopy and had an ulcer on oesophagus and was put on lansoprazole high does for six to eight weeks nearly healed now,so hopefully it could be something like that,you will just worry your self sick so go back and get it sorted sooner the better and good luck.

  • Hi definatly ask for a endoscopy and possibly barium swallow. If it is anything like cancer it will show up. It may be that it isn't and you just need to stay on Lanprazole for longer. Good Luck

  • Others before me, have said it all.

    I saw my GP six times with my symptoms (food getting stuck) getting steadily worse. I eventually started to bleed and was prescribed Omeprazole tablets.

    I had to insist on being seen privately to get an endoscopy. My GP charged my £10 for the referral as he insisted that there was "nothing wrong".

    I was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer within 24 hours of being referred. Mt consultant tells me, had I not insisted on that referral? I would be dead. My bleeding was the start of the tumour perforating the stomach, or being cut by food.

    Do what is right for you and not what is right for your GP. Insist on that endoscopy or referral. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by insisting on a referral.

    I wish you well.

    Bruce

  • Bruce, thank goodness you had the courage to go against your GP's opinion. What was his reaction to being proved wrong?

  • Their reaction was to request a meeting with the Practice Manager. I naively thought that this would be to offer up an apology and tell me how he had learned from this. I went to the meeting ready for that and still in shock at my diagnosis. WRONG!!

    They wanted me to say I would not sue them. I had no intention of doing so anyway.

    Their whole attitude to me has remained hostile. Two years on and almost every single repeat prescription is a battle that requires several phone calls and emails. A blanket refusal to prescribe "continuous glucose monitoring" despite requests form several consultants. I could go on.

    No I can't just change GP's and the one who failed to diagnose me left shortly after this incident.

    Their whole attitude to private medicine is hostile and obvious, yet it saves them, time and money and it saved my life.

    I have never been out of work since completing my education and have paid 40% tax into the UK all my working life. That qualifies for nothing. I now have to argue to get a packet of Paracetemol.

  • To be honest, after all the work that the OPA and others have done to raise awareness among GP's, and given your history of persistent acid reflux and now food getting stuck in your gullet, I am amazed that your GP has not referred you for an endoscopy. I had exactly the same symptoms nine years ago and, thankfully, my GP immediately referred me firstly for a barium swallow and then for an endoscopy.

  • Please ask to have an Endoscopy - my husband was given tablets and it made an improvement but then it returned and was booked in for an endoscopy - that was over three years ago. If there is anything wrong they tend to move swiftly to deal with iy.

  • Thank you all so much for your responses. I found this site purely by accident and I'm so glad I did. What a wonderful supportive group you are. I will make the appointment and let you all know how I get on. X

  • You must go to your doctor and insist on an endoscope and do NOT take no for an answer, I'm afraid doctors can be extremely negligent with this type of patient visit as I found out to my cost

  • This is my story. I had difficulty swallowing for sometime and in Aug16 I went doctors after several years of having acid reflux due to hiatus hernia (why didn't I go doctors earlier ... I will never know). It turns out I've got a stricture in my oesoph..which narrows it and causes swallowing probs. The stricture comprises scar tissue resulting from the acid reflux burning. As luck has it, after a battery of tests, my stricture is not cancerous; how lucky am I. Google Steve Hewlett the radio 4 presenter and his oesoph cancer podcasts; his was cancerous and it puts you in a completely different ball game which you dont want to be in if poss.

    You need to get this checked out quickly to confirm cancer yes or no. Highly likely your stricture is not cancerous but you gotta get it checked out. By me having mine checked out, the hospital have put me on a PPI omeprazole which stops the burning so hopefully my condition wont deteriorate plus I've had an oesoph stretch which makes swallowing easier. Further non-cancer treatment for me is now ongoing.

    I think I was lucky with my doctor. As soon as he saw me he put me on this scheme whereby the NHS must reach a diagnosis within 2 weeks so you get all the necessary tests done fast. I've spoken to others whose doctors haven't escalated so early and they literally spent ages working with the doctor going through the card of trying different drugs to see which drug improves your condition and its ages before you get a diagnosis; if its C you want treatment fast.

    My advice is you need tests done asap ... pressure your doctor into getting these done and ask him to refer you to that 2 week cancer scheme. When I went to my hospital they told me to stay in for four days as they could then get the tests done quicker. The tests involved for me were i) Endoscopy (I had a couple as my oesoph had narrowed so much they couldn't get camera down), 2. Barium Swallow and 3. CT scan. As there were no signs of cancer having spread for me, my game changers were a) an oesoph stretch which made swallowing easier and b) a subsequent Endoscopy with ultrasound test (had to be done at a central london hosp) and this procedure enabled them to investigate the stricture and confirm it was not cancerous.

    There are some superstars on this site who gave me tremendous support and advice so keep posting/reading on the OPA. I wish you all the very best. Get tested quick.

  • Hello everyone, took ME a while to go to the docs (didn't want to waste their time - I know, I can hear you all!!) however she was superb and referred me under the two week scheme which means I had my endoscopy a week later and they discovered a hiatus hernia, oesophagitis and gastritis. They also took a swab to test for H. Pylori (awaiting results). I have been prescribed 30mg Lansoprazole twice daily for a month and then once daily thereafter which is doing what it needs to do. Today i have awful tummy cramps and diarrhoea which i had last time I was on it and it does pass. The most important thing is it's not cancer and I have to thank you all for you advice and support. X

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