Food sticking -Kind words and support... - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association
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Food sticking -Kind words and support please


Hi everyone! I'll try and keep this as short as possible. I am 34 years old. In March 2019 I had an endoscopy due to persistent heartburn this showed a small hiatal hernia and NERD and was put on omeprazole. Then in May my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophageal cancer and she passed over in December. After my mum's diagnosis at some point can't remember exactly when I had a couple of times where food would stick in my chest at the bottom of the oesophagus but a quick drink would resolve it and then I forgot about it. Now fast forward to yesterday during lunch while eating an apple and I had the same thing food stuck in my chest at the bottom of my oesophagus but this time water wouldn't shift it, the water was getting through but the feeling of something being stuck there and in my throat stayed until 30 minutes later after a mug of warm water.

After going through oesophageal cancer with my mum I am incredibly scared of what this might be. I'm confused also as it's only been just over a year since I had an endoscopy, could cancer develop in that time? I am going to ring the doctors today but I can't stop these thoughts that I am doomed from swirling round my head. Not to mention thinking that I'm going to be left high and dry because of the current covid 19 situation.

Any advice or just kind words would be gratefully received.

28 Replies

You are on the pathway for the development from my own experience. But noway it will grow like how you thinking in last few months.

The HH and GERD are also triggered due to anxiety and stress and currently you are extremely anxious because of your mothers diagnosis and unfortunate demise. Sorry to k ow that.

Gaviscon advance would be useful.

anxiety and stress, one got to do exercise control on their own. Easier than done but best than drugs.

Good luck

Thank you for your reply. I rang my dr this morning and he thinks it is unlikely to be cancer due to my endoscopy last March being normal apart from the Hiatal Hernia. He wants me to take my omeprazole twice a day now and has put me on gaviscon advance like you said. I'm hoping to see an improvement and no more food sticking.

You poor thing my heart goes out to you as if it's not bad enough loosing your Mum to it worried for yourself and now this virus. I was diagnosed at 47 stomach and oesophugus (can never spell) It was stage 4 and had my stomach, part O taken away pleased to say just had my 13th year anniversary since the op. I had 2 daughters late 30's and asked is it hereditory (can't spell) they said no. You are scared, anxcious too right! Wont help with your eating wish you all the best and Dr's help!!! xxxxxxxxxx

I promise you won't be left high and dry, in fact doctors are actively encouraging patients to make appointments as they don't want anything to be missed, so don't worry about that.

I know you must be worried, and I'm so sorry about your mum. You are so young to have lost her.

I had an endoscopy with same results as yours four years ago and I get an occasional feeling of food getting stuck too, so maybe it's normal with a hiatus hernia.

See your GP ASAP to put your mind at rest.

Best wishes.

bornintoit in reply to Freysimo

Hi, thank you for your reply. I did indeed ring my dr. He said I was right to be concerned about it but he thought it was unlikely to be cancer as I only had an endoscopy last March which showed no inflammation or damage to the oesophagus. He did say if it happens again in the next two weeks he will send through a referral for an endoscopy. I'm hoping it is the hiatal hernia causing it, as it would be so cruel for it to be cancer after not long losing my mum to it.

My mum died of cancer also. I have similar fears. Just recently though I weaned myself off PPI’s and I think they are no good for long term use!

I used apple cider vinegar and changed my diet to healthier foods plus exercise. HR blockers are less strong than PPI and then gaviscon least strong. I would only take the other if absolutely had to. I go to have an endoscopy in a month if pandemic remains flattened.But in the meantime I think lifestyle changes is the only option, at least for me. Good luck!

Hi last year I was diagnosed with oesophagus cancer. I was going through the same symptoms. It was caught in the early stage and now I am on a great road to recovery. You will not be forgotten because of the Cornavirus . I had a phone call yesterday from the hospital to see how I was going. Good luck. Stay positive.

bornintoit in reply to Zippy34

Hi, thank you for your reply. I rang my dr and he said I was right to be concerned but he thought it was unlikely to be cancer as I only had an endoscopy last March which showed no inflammation or damage to the oesophagus but if it happens again in the next two weeks he will put through a referral. What are your thoughts about this?

Zippy34 in reply to bornintoit

Hi I have to confess I would ask for the referral. It won't happen over night! Good luck.

Bunny69 in reply to bornintoit

The doctor may be right but I had two endoscopies in the six months prior to diagnosis that found barrets and a hiatus hernia increasing in size. Biopsies confirmed barrets with no dysplasia .

Unfortunately I had barrets from 40 to 37 cms.Biopsies taken at 38 and 37cms and the tumour was at 40cms. Biopsies proved I didn't have cancer but tumour found at 40cms after eight months not being able to eat. Not wanting to cause alarm but I allowed the process to follow normal timescales and that included my first consultation with consultant being cancelled the day before due the appointment being with wrong team . I paid to go private to get quicker answers as it had been five months since seeing GP. Due to nothing being found apart from Barrett and hiatus hernia the consultant thought I had Achalasia. If your symptoms come on quickly then achalasia is probably not the cause. My symptoms happened quickly and started with a piece of chicken and within 5 days went on to bread. Hoping you get an answer that is reassuring and your condition is easily treatable.

Best wishes


bornintoit in reply to Bunny69

Thank you for your reply. I will ask for a referral regardless like zippy suggested. My father also has oesophageal problems including scarring from chronic acid reflux that needed surgery etc so my family history is against me. I so wish I had gone last year when food started sticking but my mum was dying from oesophageal cancer and she needed me as her only close relative and I had another cancer scare involving my lingual tonsils which turned out to be due to chronic acid reflux and not base of tongue cancer. Needless to say it's been really tough and this year doesnt look to be getting any easier. I've read your posts bunny and I think I may have followed your wife's Twitter at one point during my mums cancer as your story sounds very similar to what her husband was going through.

Bunny69 in reply to bornintoit

So sorry to hear about your Mum. If any help we saw a geneticist who felt adenocarcinoma wasn't hereditary which reassured us as a family as our daughter has severe reflux issues and also has hiatus hernia. The squamous type of personages cancer is possibly hereditary and one of the signs is thickening of skin on hands and feet. I feel the diagnostic process should assume the worst and work back from it to improve outcomes. Having said that a biopsy can confirm cancer but can only rule it out at the site of biopsy and not across the large area. Your doctor has said he doesn't believe it is cancer which in itself is reassuring as it is on their radar. In my case the first mention of cancer was the day I was told it was after the eight months struggling to eat and 4 1/2 stones weight loss. I hope your pathway to a resolution of issues is far less harrowing as what you have been through already is heartbreak.


Bunny69 in reply to bornintoit

You probably have seen my wife's posts as having lived it she doesn't want other families to suffer the same nightmare. I do agree with what I think Mauser has said in that stress can cause food to stick as you tighten up in chest when stressed. I also now don't eat facing my wife and daughter as in the past prior to Ivor Lewis when food was sticking I was conscious of the fact they were watching every bit of food I ate waiting for it to stick. I seem more relaxed eating alone ( in same room just not opposite each other) . The fact your symptoms haven't worsened over the 12 months point hopefully to your GP being correct.


bornintoit in reply to Bunny69

Thank you for you replies. It means alot you taking the time to respond to me especially as you are going through such a tough time yourself.

Mauser1905 in reply to Bunny69

Sorry to hear your hassles getting the correct diagnosis in timely manner. That seems to be the issue for people below normal OAP bracket. I was 40 when diagnosed but been going after GP for a decade or so and having issues for longer than that.

In generalistic view, adenocarcinoma is highly aggressive but not necessarily genetic. Whereas squamous cell carcinoma is highly silent without aggression hence takes years and years for it to grow and metastasis without coming to detection. Hence one of the fatal cancers. Again barrets is not a definite precursor for developing adenocarcinoma at least for majority of the cases of BE. You were unfortunate that due to your younger age proper diagnostics didnt occur. If biopsy taken a referral to simple radiography or PET scan would have been quicker to diagnose the growth. That's from my reading and understanding.

Bunny69 in reply to Mauser1905

Hi Mauser,

I strongly believe my tumour was evident at indie, endoscopy but was seen as hiatus hernia. No photographs were taken from junction on retroflex as I didn't tolerate procedure. The second endoscopy took poor photo on retroflex and 7 biopsies. My dysphagia came on from chicken then bread within 5 days and progressed over weeks to the point I was living on chicken noodle packet soup that was then blended and sieved so in effect managing on less than 300 calories per day. My hospital were certain I did not have cancer at initial endoscopy seven weeks after initial symptoms or 7 weeks later at second endoscopy and biopsies taken at 37/38 cms confirmed barretts with no dysplasia. Twelve weeks after second endoscopy a 65mm tumour was found at goj . I had barium swallow and manometry and ultrasound and a c.f. scan in the February. The scan only showed base of oesophagus as thorax was not included. There is a mass visible on February scan at base of oesophagus that hospital say most people have which they believed was a hiatus hernia,as cancer would almost certainly have been seen on endoscopy. So it was recorded as unremarkable. I by this time had lost 4 1/2 stone. I believe both of these cancers take many years to develop and squamous more associated with inhalation of particles whereas adenocarcinoma almost always due to reflux and possibly weight . The mass seen and unremarkable on February scan lit up on pet c.t scan after admission to hospital in April. The hospital were convinced there was no tumour until April .

They could not give doubling time as they did not know where tumour started and finished.

I spent a further eight weeks in hospital waiting for a treatment plan. 7 mdt meetings until eventually after 59 days in hospital I was transferred for Ivor Lewis.

There is a phrase being used by CMO during covid-19 briefings that a bad test is worse than no test. I am inclined to agree as if you have a test that is poorly tolerated and patient is struggling and baulking you may miss a subtle change in oesophagus but because you have had the test and nothing was found other than barretts and hiatus hernia you then wait for next test and more time is lost. As with covid -19 you do not give cancer a head start. As you said, because we were not above 55 the assumption was unlikely to be cancer. The symptoms suggest it could be but in my case two poorly tolerated endoscopies did not find it so every test that followed seemed to refer back to endoscopy to 're confirm a hiatus hernia. Barium suspected achalasia due to birds beak and dilated lower oesophagus . I worked on public service vehicles for thirty years and I could not rely on a brake test from six weeks earlier being satisfactory evidence that the brakes on that vehicle would be ok for service if vehicle reported defective yesterday if you follow my extremely long reply. I

I used to suffer mild reflux especially after cider or lager. Sleeping on my left stopped this. I never took ppi or antacids until after first endoscopy aged 47. I went to gp within week but was never on cancer pathway, so rather than 2 week for tests my journey was eight months which is a frightening head start.

Hope you are still fighting fit, you were one of the first posts I saw when I was just beginning journey and your advice has been very helpful to me and my family.


If you get the stuck feeling drink a small amount of fizzy water, lemonade, ginger ale tonic or such like. It can help to move it.

Hi .I had similar symptoms - had endoscope , barium meal etc . I was diagnosed with hiatus hernia . I was slightly overweight - middle age spread aged 57 at the time . I first got worried trying to digest toasted bacon sandwich in a cafe . Bread / gluten was the worst thing . Put on lanzoprazole but from 2 friends advice told not to stay on it as they both knew people who had developed ulcers .

I suggested surgery to my consultant who warned me that the lead up would be unpleasant . Tubes put in and out via my nostrils - awake and a monitor for 24 hours whilst one of these tubes was down my nostril and throat . I endured this as I thought I can't have the final - maybe 30 years of my life - I was working full time ..being like this .

Finally with me being stubborn and persistant I had day surgery in Jan 2018. Put on liquid diet for 4 weeks then intro solids for next 4 weeks .

Today I am a new person . I was able to join a PARIS gym scheme = guided exercise with go to trainer at reduced cost for 18 months . I am 18kg lighter and keeping the weight off with group Zumba classes and swimming do exercises via You Tube and daily hours walk .

Aged 60 I have more confidence . Buy clothes I want in Size 12 and have changed jobs twice . Please be pushy , don't go away or be fobbed off . Seniors hold purse strings but you are important .

bornintoit in reply to focused1

Thank you for your reply and inspiring story. I am hoping I can turn my health around as well.

I am very sorry to hear about your mother. You have been through such a lot with this . If your earlier endoscopy did not show any signs of Barrett’s Esophagus with or without dysplasia then, as your doctor said, it is unlikely that a tumor blockage has come on so quickly. Having a hiatus hernia - did they say what size? - can cause swallowing difficulties. If it continues your doctor might recommend a test to check if your esophagus is moving properly in pushing food down and also to check if the acid is being controlled by your PPI as having a h hernia means reflux can still occur. I hope you will feel better soon but do continue to take your doctor’s advice.

bornintoit in reply to adela1

Thank you for your reply. They said it was a small hiatal hernia. I must admit I've not always been good at following drs orders but I will be following the advice to the letter from now on.

Xx 62yr old male

Havent read all posts ..

Xx had hh and reflux (now had nissen 360= 0 reflux)

Xx developed swallowin probs with hh .. thought it cld b cancer .. was petrified (but upside .. not losing weight, not feeling tired, gd appetite generally gd health .. but u never kno so worried)

Xx drs concerned about cancer

Xx ultrasound found not cancer but oesoph narrowed due to severe scarring of oesoph walls from reflux acid burning.

Xx losing weight helped .. i was fat and turning over in bed meant my stomach like squashed balloon and wld trigger reflux jet

Xx put on omprez till hh op (40m once/day)

Xx to improve reflux situ .. fizzy water with meals (caused a belch to help food fall) .. serious chewing and time betw mouthfuls .. slept on one side (cant remem which) so point where oesoph hit stomach at highest point) ... slept elevated (v pillow .. i also would loop rope round headboard and under my arms to stop me slipping down level .. not a winner with wife) .. at gym did lot of skipping (to dislodge food) .. banana and custard after dinner was like a flush.

Xx cos of oesoph narrowing my food backd up .. resulting in my oesoph being funnel shaped instead of a pipe .. this exacerbated blocking cos on swallowing, the food not passed down pipe instead it was as if thrown in bucket .. funnel shaped oesoph remains major concern of drs now

xx 24hr once/wk water only fast .. give digest system rest .. give any internal healing a chance

xx since hh op still get swallowing issues cos oesoph remains narrow near stomach. Current think is that in the hh op the nissen wrap did not take fully into account the thickness of oesoph walls (due to scarring) so oesoph remained narrow. Ive had a stretch .. but dr may redo nissen with a looser wrap (food flows thru better and hopefully oesoph shrinks back pipelike)

Xx choose yur food wisely .. stodgy foods .. bread .. meats .. can cause blocks. Fresher the food .. less blocks i find.

Good luck. Cheers. Gary

Thank you for you detailed response. I will take everything you have said on board.

Lesser of HH - TITANIUM LINX band through laparoscopic insertion

HH - Nissen Fundoplication360

Both above are anatomical root cause fixes, however as goes with everything in medicine comes with caveats.

LINX band is also offered on nhs if I understand correctly, albeit handful places; else private. In my personal opinion the placement close to the LES is very important for avoiding acid damage leading to barrets or dysplasia, potentially developing adenocarcinoma.

NF360 is hit and miss given this is a surgical fixing of the muscles at the LES which is subjective due to obvious variables but very good root cause fixture with proven results. Where as Linx is new innovation significantly looked up in USA due to private insurance and slow uptake within conservative UK NHS.

When I was running around looking for LINX surgery and either NF360 referral, the dysplasia was diagnosed and it was too late for me by then. Only radical oesophagectomy recommended by MDT.

Remember now, GP practices will put you on day to day symptom management and pain medication, instead of fixing the root cause in this case HH and stress (this one you got to fix yourself without medications). If you can comvince your GP/Hospital GI surgeon for LINX/NF360 you will do better for long term.

I eat heavy hot food, bloody spicy etc. One may get ulcer if the LES does work perfectly. Typically everybody will ask you to cut down on this or that. But remember acid is always present in stomach and if HH causes reflux then the hot spice will add to intensity of the symptom but not cause the symptom on it's own. Never.

Wish you good luck in. Finding peaceful pleasant state of mind and root cause fix. With this I pray you will not develop adenocarcinoma at least.

Hello, I have Barrett’s was diagnosed back in 2000. I have had GERD, esophageal spasms since 1998. My first esophageal spasm happened in 94 or 95 eating chicken rice soup. Nothing would go down. It was weird because my 18month old daughter started aching and screaming at the same exact moment it hit me. I was convinced that she was having the same thing. Her doctor said it was an ear infection but her reaction was during a meal chicken rich soup. Esophageal strictures since 96 and I get food stuck frequently in the same place as you. Back in July of 2018 had a mobility test which showed without a doubt that I had achalasia and a small hiatal hernia. I had the surgery in February of 2019 which helped 75% of the food from getting stuck but it still happens like earlier today eating a small popsicle. From what I was told it takes a long time several months to years for esophageal cancer to develop. I have strong family history of cancer. As long as your gastroenterologist is doing yearly, or every 3yrs endoscopies and it is checking out negative then you should be good. I know it can get hard with these COVID-19 and stay at home orders can lead to anxiety but stop take a deep breath will help break that negative thought process. Listen to upbeat music 🎶 to will help break that negative thought process too. The surgeon 👨🏼‍⚕️told me that to get diagnoses with achalasia you have to have the right doctor to order the right test. Also none surgical way to treat it is nitroglycerin tablets. Take it under your tongue and it relaxes the esophageal spasms. When you say your food gets suck at the bottom of your esophagus would you have a sharp stabbing pain too? I would get the same thing. March of 2019 when you had your last endoscopy.... 🤔hmm 34yrs I was around your age when all my GI problems started up. I would call call your gastroenterologist and go from there. I don’t think you would developed esophageal cancer this quickly. I think you you are safe there. You need to find out why your food is getting stuck. Sorry my thoughts are all scattered but you need peace of mind. I’m not sure what NERD is or if that could play a role with the food getting stuck? Call your gastroenterologist and be safe. Take care. 😊💕💖

I think that you need to speak to a health professional. It is being reported that people with serious health concerns are leaving it too late to seek medical attention due to Covid concerns.

I empathise as I have been experiencing similar symptoms and have ME too so, as I feel flulike symptoms and pain all the time as well as oesophageal problems (ulcers, hiatus hernia), it would be quite difficult to tell if anything else is wrong and I don’t want to seek help in the current crisis.

It is a very frightening dilemma for you but please muster up the courage to speak to a professional over the phone for some expert advice? I feel that you would regret it less than if you did nothing but let it worry you.

Hope that you are reassured and helped.

Hi sorry to hear about your problem have you ever had a pull through mamaronatry test not sure if it’s the right spelling it when them put a tube down into you stomach they put it through your nose s into your stomach put they put it down slowly you have to drink sips of water as it is inserted slowly at one point they give you a small piece of bread this is to test how your muscles are working down your Oesophagus you have muscles all the way down it they’re not working as they should that when you have trouble with food going down they leave the tube in for 24 hours this is connected to a small computer which registered your acid reflux this could be your problem so don’t always think of cancerHope e every thing will be ok


You are in my prayers. Please do not delay in seeing your doctor about your difficulty in swallowing.

Do eat and rest well with some exercise if possible.

Take care.

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