Why does my food get stuck in my throat sometimes?

Have you ever experienced the frustrating feeling of food getting stuck in your throat? It’s like swallowing a bowling ball, but worse. You cough, choke and gag until finally, it goes down or comes up – not ideal either way.

Well fret no more because we’re diving deep into why this uncomfortable sensation occurs and how to prevent it from happening again.

The Anatomy of Swallowing

Let’s start with the basics: swallowing. This seemingly simple process is actually quite complex. Did you know that there are around 50 muscles involved in swallowing? Crazy right?

When you swallow, your tongue pushes food toward the back of your throat where a flap called the epiglottis prevents it from entering your windpipe (trachea). Instead, the food travels down another tube called the esophagus and into your stomach for digestion.

What Causes Food to Get Stuck?

Narrow Esophagus

Sometimes our esophagus can be narrower than usual making it harder for large pieces of food to pass through. If you have a history of acid reflux disease or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), then continuous exposure to stomach acids can also narrow your esophagus over time causing dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).


Rarely, tumors may grow along the wall of the esophagus and push against its opening thereby reducing its diameter hence causing difficulty during eating.

Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an important role during digestion as well as lubricating your mouth’s surfaces which helps slip chewed bites smoothly down your throat without being lodged somewhere. When there isn’t enough saliva due to medication side effects or reduced liquid intake over time then this works against us resulting in dried out tracts that crumple up when trying to swallow nutrients

Structural Problems with Your Throat

Another possible cause of food getting stuck is structural problems with your throat. Pharyngeal pouches, webs or strictures are rare but all can narrow the diameter of the esophagus hence resulting in discomfort when trying to eat.


One more rare issue that may cause difficulty swallowing is achalasia; a condition causing muscles in portions of your digestive tract which includes esophagus not contracts well.

Common Triggers for Dysphagia

Certain foods are really doozies for triggering this type of problem. High-fiber and dry or doughy foods tend to cling together, making it harder to push them down since they have less oil present so that won’t form a slick surface thus presenting an easy passage down the canal.Try taking smaller bites with these meals or chewing longer prior swallowing (even though we know you’re impatient).

Here are some common culprits and why:

  • Bread: A chewed piece can easily compact.
  • Rice: Sticky rice grains can gum up each other even when mashed upon being chewed by teeth
  • Peanut butter: It’s sticky! Ingesting large spoonfuls at once may result in peanut sticking around where it doesn’t belong.
  • Meat – especially if tough/gristly/off-cuts and chop cuts that haven’t been sliced thin properly.

How to Avoid Food Getting Stuck

Avoiding certain triggers alone cannot prevent dysphagia but instead observing good eating habits reduces their episodes. Below are quick tips on how chow time should be manoeuvred:

We’ve heard our moms say it a million times before–but sitting up straight while eating actually helps assist saliva flow through as well as keeping room for proper alignment needed during gulping . Poor posture leads to pinching off air conduits reducing trachea space available from breathing leading thuswhen you’re eating, further restricting size available for your food

No one’s got a busy pace like you. Although Swiftness is normally appreciated especially if we are voracious eaters or hangry, but it can lead to lack of preparation as far as chewing properly which limits saliva’s ability to create the necessary slip for boluses. To avoid this catastrophe and prevent choking that results from large food chunks getting stuck in spiralling tubes simply chew thoroughly before swallowing.

Always have water by us side when having meals either during or after each bite – it will (a) help assist with proper digestion due to its dilution effect and subsequently allowing acids degrade protein pieces so they fit easily down the pipe , plus; (b) moisten any lumps encountered ensuring easy passage thereafter.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In some cases, food becoming lodged after numerous attempts can be an emergency implying a life-threatening issue requiring immediate care urgently.. If persistent dysphagia occurs accumulating into weeks/months span coupled with inadvertent weight loss of more than what’s thought “normal”, seeing your doctor should be top priority.
When noticing chest pain and frequent indigestion regularly experienced solely alone without attributes to post PRANDIAL coughing, then this points towards GERD which could contribute greatly while observing difficulty ingesting foods.

At other times:
– Occurrence when no blockage is yet present hence impeding movement causing severe Dysphagic convulsions
– Being hit at back forcefully without prior expectation leading forceful entry of edibles before swallowin

Though it might seem like there is nothing quite like being slammed in our throats suddenly by certain types if meals; following above simple tips helps keep odious sensations at bay thus making mealtime enjoyable sans interruptions!

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