Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Food Lodging in Throat

Tuesday, 04 Oct 2011 09:02 AM


Question: I am a 50-year-old woman, and I often get food lodged in my throat. What causes this? And sometimes when I yawn, a muscle under my chin tenses up and hurts until I massage the area.
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Food lodging in our throats can be dangerous. The blocked esophagus elicits a choking response and beyond local damage to the area that is obstructed, secretions and food will accumulate behind it. This can overflow into the lung and cause choking and death. Food that sticks usually reflects either a narrowed area in the esophagus (a stricture, a growth, or even cancer) or may reflect a problem swallowing properly.

Spasm of the muscles under the chin is often associated with thyroid disorder that when enlarged may cause difficulty swallowing because of compression on the esophagus.

All of these conditions need assessment without delay. Seek the attention of your primary care physician, or if you have a choking episode, call 911 and be transported to the nearest ER for an evaluation by a board-certified ER physician for appropriate intervention and disposition.







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