Your throat lies just behind your mouth, and air, food and liquid pass through it. Your esophagus is a food and liquid carrying tube between your throat and stomach.
Moving food and liquid from your mouth to stomach requires a coordinated action of your mouth, throat, esophageal propulsive waves and sphincter relaxation. Problems with any of this activity may cause one or more of these symptoms:
- chest, back pain
- aspiration of food
- nighttime coughing
- uncoordinated swallowing
- squeezing pain under breastbone
You likely don’t pay much attention to your throat and esophagus until you swallow something too big, hot, and cold. Or when something goes wrong.
- strep throat
- Scarlett fever
- common cold
- whooping cough
Some other esophageal problems, diseases or disorders that may affect your throat or esophagus are:
- bile reflux
- acid reflux
- peptic ulcer
- contact ulcers
- esophageal cancer
- esophageal varices
- vocal cord paralysis
- esophageal spasms
- Barrett’s esophagus
- laryngeal papillomas
- epidermolysis bullosa
- esophageal diverticula
- esophageal rings & webs
- throat, esophageal cancer
- vocal cord polyps & nodules
The strength of esophageal contractions and tension in the sphincters decreases with age. This condition makes you more prone to back flow of stomach acid.
And undesirable weight loss is an indicative symptom that an elderly person may be having a problem in their throat or esophagus.
Treatment depends on which one of the foregoing problems, diseases or disorders are causing your throat or esophagus issue. Sometimes, a OTC throat medication or change in diet is all that is necessary.
Dietary treatment begins with avoiding these types of foods during an acute episode of a throat or esophagus problem:
- very hot
- alcohol, caffeine
- tart, acidic, salty foods
- pickled, vinegary, tomato base
- mouthwashes containing alcohol
- citrus fruit juices ~ grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime
- rough textured, hard ~ dry toast, granola, raw fruits & vegetables
- irritating spices ~ chili powder, cloves, curry, hot sauces, nutmeg, pepper
Dietary treatment in substitution encompass eating soft, creamy foods. Some examples:
- ice cream
- cream soups
- cooked cereals
- mashed potatoes
- liquid meal replacement
A few other helpful recommendations surrounding dietary treatment during a short term throat or esophagus problem are:
- moisten dry foods
- puree chunky food
- consume soothing lukewarm, cold foods
- suck on frozen fruit pops, fruit ices, ice chips.
- season your food with mild herbs ~ basil, oregano, thyme
If you are experiencing an ongoing discomfort with your throat or esophagus, get with your health care professional to discover if a chronic disease or disorder is at the root of your food and liquid transport problem.