Difficulty Swallowing

I recently had an episode of difficulty in swallowing while eating a Chinese takeaway. A couple of people responded saying they had also experienced this problem. I was wondering if this applied to all Chinese meals, or whether there was one specifically. This episode was frightening for me and lasted about half an hour. During this time I could not swallow although my breathing was not affected. I am wondering whether I had an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the meal, which was Sweet and Sour Chicken. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

10 Replies

  • If you could still breathe, it may be that you are developing a stricture (narrowing) in your esophagus. If so, it's probably unrelated to parkinsons and you may need to see a GI Dr. If you choke on things like meat, especially, or tend to regurgitate fluids if you drink while eating, it could be an esophageal stricture. Also, if you need to drink while eating in order to get food to go down, that's a sign of stricture. If you have a history of acid reflux you are more likely to develop one of these strictures. If so it's vital that you see a GI Doc! Maybe some others on here can advise you as to whether it could also be a result of your Parkinsons. I personally have not had that problem, but am not that far along as yet. But as a former GI nurse, it sounds like a possible stricture to me--especially if it happens again.

  • Thanks for your reply. I will follow this up with my GP. I assumed my problem was linked to Parkinsons, but after reading your comments, I am not so sure. If it turns out to be a stricture that I will need surgery!! I have had a couple of similar incidents in the past, but these have passed without causing any problems.

  • I'm afraid this is quite common, but not restricted to chinese food, pills can become a problem too after a few years- - -difficult as most sufferers take a lot of them!.

    Some drugs can be combined with others to reduce the pill count though.

  • Hello Court

    Just read up on Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) which is used liberally in Chinese Food.

    I will say no more!


  • My experience with eating is that after the first few mouthfulls of food my body rejects it by vomiting then after that I can eat my meal. It does not happen every time and it can be different food .Swallowing isn't a problem most of the time as I can take my Parkinsons meds. without difficulty.

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  • I recently wrote a post to my blog on this side effect of PD after I came across a report with the lovely headline"Difficulty Swallowing Can Be Fatal For People with Parkinson's"


  • Indeed, swallowing becomes an issue for some with PD. When I was first diagnosed with PD I was quite upset and asked my neurologist if PD was fatal. He said that his only patient who died was from complications of swallowing, not from PD itself. I would be very mindful of swallowing problems, which can lead to chocking.

  • drink water when you eat. Have lots of sauce/gravy on the food.

    Chew the food properly, small mouthfalls.

    try not to have your chin down, this makes it easier to swallow.

    Have your spouse and family know how to deal with choking as first aid.

    Five back slaps etc....

  • Hello Court I was first diagnosed with PD in 2006 and just fairly recently have began to experience difficulty swallowing and it seems to be getting worse. My neurologist first started asking me if I had problems swallowing about six years ago. When this happens to me I have to fight the urge to panic.

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