Food sticking?

I am now 7 weeks post op and have, over the last few days, started to feel food going past the point of my oesophagus scar, indeed last night a piece of roast beef stuck for a minute, which did frighten me.

I have heard that this can happen and not to worry, as they can expand the scar. Anyone else had this problem.

On a happier note, I would like to thank you all for your support and help this year and to wish you all a merry Christmas and send you my best wishes for the New Year.


21 Replies

  • Hi Phil, yes, I have had 6 dilatations now where they insert a balloon and stretch the area of scar tissue that shrinks as it heals. It is painless. I had my first stretch at 8 weeks, so get in touch with your surgical team and they will arrange it for you. After all we can't eat much but we want to be able to enjoy what we can without the fear of it sticking.

    Best wishes

    Edwina x

  • Thanks for that, I needed some reassurance!!

    I will contact the surgical team and tell them.

    Best wishes


  • Hi Phil

    The same thing happened to me a couple of months after my op and it was quite stressful.

    I was eating Lamb at the time and it took some time to digest.what ever you do it it happens again don,t try to clear it by drinking water as I did it only makes the matter worst.I still have to be careful eating Beef,Lamb and Pork and you must chew these meat products very carefully.Chicken Turkey and minched beef are no problem.Give it time if it happens again you can always have a stretch which is no big deal.Hopefully you will be able to make it to our meeting on Jan10th


  • Thanks Phil,

    Your right, I was getting to confident and did not chew it long enough.

    I have put the date of the next meeting on the calendar and am looking forward to seeing you all

    Best Wishes


  • I'm about 10 weeks post-op and this is happening to me too! Most recently yesterday with a piece of egg mayonnaise of all things - it gave me a very uncomfortable hour before it cleared. So much so my wife rang the specialist nurse for advice - they suggested sipping a warm or fizzy drink to soften the obstruction. This seemed to work in this case. Off for a dilation next Wednesday, hopefully I'll be able to eat (but very carefully) something resembling a proper Christmas Dinner the week after.

  • Thanks for that tip about the fizzy water, I'll remember that.

    I to will be contacting the specialist nurse tomorrow.

    Best wishes


  • Hi Phil,

    Had the same in the early days after my op.My worst was with crisps which kept me awake all night ,dont know if i did the proper thing, but at the time i never felt far away from throwing up ,so got rid of it that way.It did knock my confidence and 7 months after my op still tend to stick with softer foods.After schedualed hospital visit this week,it has been decided for dilation on me.

    Merry Christmas

  • I to felt perminantly sick untill about 10 days ago. I could easily have been sick but tried not to be as I didn't know if it was safe but if you have been O.K. with it, I will let it happen next time.Thanks

    Best wishes


  • Hi Phil,

    I had the same problem at about seven weeks post op, I was given an endoscopy and told there was nothing wrong. But food was still sticking. It was finally found to be caused by my other meds.

    Are you on any Dopermine agonists? Anything for dizziness, or twitchy movements? If so that could be the cause.

  • I do take tamasoulin for an enlarged prostrate but I think thats its probably the scar thats thickening or shrinking.

    Best wishes


  • Hi

    I had my main op almost 11 years ago and have had about 25 dilatations (stretches) since then. First was about a couple of months after the big op. Most people only need a couple of stretches (if any) so don't worry it is very rare that people need as many as I have had. It might be that radiotherapy made my scarring worse or it might be just the way my body reacts to scarring.

    Stretches are not really anything to worry about.- In and out same day usually, and you might feel a bit rubbish for a day or two. You do need to let the team know when you feel food sticking because a few of mine have been when food was well and truly stuck, so have ended up as emergencies and they are more difficult for them to do. I was told to let the team know when I started getting problems rather than risk getting food stuck and then having to go in and have it shifted.

    The most dangerous times are when you are hungry and just forget for a moment to be careful, cut small pieces of food and chew well. My emergency ones were mainly due to chicken or steak sticking (first bite at BBQ's!) . The food smelled so delicious, and I am a bit greedy!

    Please try not to worry about it, as I said I have had so many that it is almost routine. Good luck with it all.


  • Dear Krysia,

    Thanks for that, it's really good to know that it’s normal and that the dilation is going to be no big deal.

    From what you have said, I will have to take far more care in chewing as I tend to forget and just swallow which from your experience, can have serious consequences.

    Thanks for your help and all my best wishes,


    P.S. 11 years is good to hear.

  • Hi Phil5,

    I think Tramadol is an opiate, so that's not the cause.

    Good luck with your dilation.

    From what the others are saying, it's not too bad.

  • Thanks for the comments. I have contacted the specialist nurse and she is arranging for me to have an endoscopy.

    Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

  • Some people are prone to having much more prominent scar tissue than others, and this sometimes is a contributory factor.

  • Thanks Alan, I have just had a phone call from the hospital endoscopy unit, they are going to dilate my scr on the 4th Jan. I will keep you informed.

    Thanks for your help and all my best wishes,


  • Let us hope that it does the trick! meanwhile have a good Christmas!

  • Only just read the comments...hope it goes well, and have a good Christmas everyone, remember the golden rule, little but often. Chew well.

  • I know!!!! I got to confident and it bit me so to speek.

    Thanks Bernadette.

    Merry Christmas and all my best wishes for the new year


  • I'm just over three months past my fourth operation. The first of these was to remove a small part of my oesophagus and stomach, in order to get rid of an 18mm, funny looking blob that had been found during an endoscopy. The second and third operations were required shortly after the first, when a leak infected what remained of my stomach and oesophagus. The fourth op, in November, pulled my bowels up to create my new, as I put it, 'feed pipe.'

    Upon leaving hospital I was given a number of booklets regarding what to eat, and when, but the general advice was that everybody is different, and everyone has things that they may or may not have problems.

    Having being told that the cancer had almost definitely gone from the affected area, I wanted to celebrate by eating the things that I'd been looking forward to since May 2012, which is just about everything. I've had curries, beef, chicken, pork, fish in batter, potato's, chips, various vegetables, chocolate (sometimes like it's going out of fashion), liquorice, crisps, biscuits, black forrest gateau, loads of things with full cream, crumpets, other bread products, and probably some things I've forgotten.

    Since I've been able to eat again, there's none of the above that I can say that I've learned to avoid. There have been a number of times when I've had food stick, and the first time I was terrified. The advice given previously, of not trying to wash the blockage away is, in my experience, very very wise. I made that mistake, and immediately felt that 'this is what it must feel to be drowning.' I just couldn't get the liquid past the blockage, and was forced to try to cough the liquid back up - not a very dignified sight, but one that did the trick. The blockage eventually went away with lots of swallowing.

    After one of these episodes it's easy to say that your not going to eat that particular thing again, I know I did. Since then, there's nothing that I've stopped eating. Even bread, which is the item that most often sticks, is not on my forbidden list, as I had a gorgeous cheese burger at Frankie and Bennies not long back.

    I'm still learning how to come to terms with the food sticking, as I am with the wonders that are well known as 'dumping syndrome.' I try to take smaller mouthfulls, as that gives me less to chew, and reduces the feeling that I get of swallowing so soon. I also try, not always succeeding, to chew more - it get's boring, but it's a lot better than the alternative. When the food does stick, and the first three or four swallows doesn't seem to be clearing it, I do my best to just relax. I take a very small sip of whatever drink I have at the time, and try to use that to lubricate my attempts to swallow. If none of that works, as daft as it might make me look, I massage my throat, just under my Adam's Apple. I haven't got a clue whether it's something that might work for everyone, and I don't know if it works for me all of the time, but it does give me a feeling of actually doing something, not just being a prisoner to my new plumbing.

    For me, there doesn't appear to be any rhyme nor reason to what foods cause sticking, so far it's been a number of things, including bread, lamb, chicken, pork, beef, ricicle, frosties, and others. As I say, I've not given up any of them because a) I love all of them, and b) for everytime that they've stuck, there's been numerous instances when they haven't. It might also be worth mentioning that I have also had the sticking feeling whilst drinking - I suppose it's the same as putting petrol into your car - but I haven't given up drinking either.

    In the end I suppose that what I'm trying to say; even though it's only based upon my own experience, and all of us are different, is that anyone who has been through this type of surgery has already given up so much - why do we also have to give up the foods that we have always loved, unless absolutely necessary?

  • Just saw this post --had to compliment DaddyPig on putting it so perfectly.

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