We have just put up our first poll for Charlie's Circle because we wondered about how many people have trouble with stents.
Stents are made of a thin wire mesh material and are designed to maintain a clear passage for food to pass through your oesophagus, usually to combat swelling that constricts it. The diameter is usually between 9 and 12mm so that determines the size of food portions that will pass through. If they get blocked up, it sometimes needs an endoscopy to unblock them, and we find that there may not be a lot of detailed knowledge about the practicalities in all parts of the medical profession.
Here is some guidance from the OPA booklet 'Swallowing - Nutrition when it's Difficult'
Don't rush eating
Have soft food in small mouthfuls and chew it well
Drink a little before and after meals - fizzy drinks are helpful
Sit up straight when eating
Don't tackle large lumps of food - cut them up and chew them well
Spit out anything that you cannot chew
Mix food supplements such as Complan very thoroughly - dry powder can block the stent
If you feel the stent is blocked, stop eating. Drink a little and walk around for a while
If the blockage persists for more than three hours, ring your GP or contact the hospital where you were treated.
Clean the stent after eating with a fizzy drink
Keep your teeth and dentures in good order so that you can chew well
Foods to avoid:
Green salads and raw vegetables
Fried egg white, and hard-boiled egg
Fruit skins and pith of grapefruit and orange
Tough meat and gristle
Fish with bones
White bread, crusty bread and toast
Shredded Wheat and Puffed Wheat
Hard chips and crisps
Nuts and dried fruit