Pill Stuck In Throat: What To Do Next

4 out of 10 Americans have problems swallowing pills. So, if you have ever thought that only you had problems swallowing pills, now you know you are not alone.

Cricopharyngeus – it’s a tough word to pronunciate, but it feels even tougher when a pill is stuck in your throat. Nonetheless, it is the name of the spot where you get stuck.

Cricopharyngeus is a circular muscle that is situated above the esophagus. Some adults and children find it difficult to swallow pills even when the pill is not stuck in this part of the throat.

When you swallow food, epiglottis covers your food pipe to ensure food can be transported down easily. But as pills are small in size and sometimes stick to the throat walls. It becomes difficult to swallow. 

When that happens, what to do next?

In this article, we will discuss what to do next when a pill gets stuck in your throat and other preventive measures to follow.

What Happens When A Pill Gets Stuck In Your Throat?

When a pill is in the throat, it breaks down, releasing all the chemical components. These chemical components can be dangerous to the esophagus and can damage it. 

Sometimes tablets can also be locked in the LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter). LES is a small opening that connects your stomach with the food pipe. 

If this problem is not taken care of in its initial phase, it can lead to GERD and Esophagitis. In some cases, the effect of these can go far beyond the ailment.

Why Do Pills Get Stuck?

When you swallow food, water, or medication, everything has to travel down the esophagus. But sometimes, like pills, they get stuck on top of the esophagus. This usually happens because of the pill’s sticky surface.

At the top of the esophagus, there is a ring-like muscle called Cricopharyngeus. The sole reason for the existence of this muscle is to control which object passes through. That means, at the time of swallowing, if Cricopharyngeus doesn’t relax, the pill will get stuck inside your throat.

To avoid any reflux symptoms from happening, you need to ensure the smooth passage of the pill down the Cricopharyngeus, esophagus, and LES.

What To Do When A Pill is Stuck In the Throat?

Preventing a condition where you have a pill stuck inside your throat depends on the reason behind it happening in the first place. If you know the reason behind why it is happening, you can look for different methods to overcome it.

However, if you are already in a situation where a pill is stuck inside your throat, follow these simple steps.

  • Make a fist with one ahead and place it on your stomach just above your belly button.
  • Now hold your wrist with the other hand.
  • Find some studier things to bend over. It can be anything, a table, counter edge, or a chair.
  • Now use the sturdier object to push your hand forcefully. 
  • This quick motion will help push your stomach and force the stuck pill out of your throat.

This Heimlich maneuver is simple and effective when you find yourself choking on a pill or food.

Make The Pill Go Down Slowly

Pills don’t usually go down easily, especially in the case of children. This is why we are here, sharing a few tips and helping kids swallow pills.

  • Drink Lots Of Water: Drink lots of water with the pill so that the pills move along with the water.
  • Use Lubricant: You can use lubricants like swallowing the gel. Today, the market is filled with many high-quality gels that can be used to coat the pill to provide resistance-free passage.
  • Put Your Food In Soft Food: You can put your pill inside curd or smoothies to ensure it passes easily through Cricopharyngeus.

If you have been able to swallow pills all your life but suddenly have a problem, it could be a serious health issue. See your doctor immediately.