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How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

Whether in a hurry, excited about something delicious or simply not paying attention, it is common for food to get stuck in our throat because we haven't chewed properly. With hard, crunchy or large pieces of food, this is even more likely. While the majority of cases will find that the food stuck in the throat causes little problem and any blockage can be removed quickly, there are possible instances where a blockage of food can lead to infection. If there is a severe blockage, you will know quickly enough that something needs to be done as you will start to choke and find breathing difficult. This oneHOWTO article shows you how to remove food stuck in throat if it is only a minor obstruction, but will also flag other possible concerns.

You may also be interested in: How to Remove a Ring from a Swollen Finger
Steps to follow:
1

Though there are many reasons why you may get food stuck in your throat, you should know that most foods dissolve over time. So, if the piece is not causing too much trouble, let it dissolve naturally with the saliva in the throat. If this fails, try drinking a little cold water to help loosen the blockage. Water helps the process by flushing out the sides and bring it along in its flow. If cold water doesn't help with the food stuck in your throat, you can try some warm water or even some tea. Do not use very hot water as this can burn your throat and cause even greater problems, especially if it is not actually food stuck in your throat which is the problem (see below). It may even help to lie down flat on your back and try to drink the water as gravity is also introduced to help dislodge the stuck food. Repeat a few times if unsuccessful on the first go.

2

If the food is still stuck in your throat, then you can try adding some salt to the warm water you have been drinking before. Stir it into the water so that it dissolves and then gargle with it. This may help, but you will need to be careful as, although the food stuck in your throat may be dislodged, the salt water can induce vomiting. This is partly because gargling any kind of liquid can cause your gag reflex to trigger, but also because salt water can make your stomach react and also cause vomiting. You also probably don't need the sodium.

If gargling with water or salt water isn't enough to remove the food stuck in your throat, then you can try with some other liquids. Hydrogen peroxide, although very nasty in its undiluted form, can be useful for dislodging blockages or even soothing any agitation food stuck in the throat may have caused. Use the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and mix with equal parts warm water (a capful of each should do). Gargle as you did before and it should help dislodge the stuck food. If you don't have any hydrogen peroxide, you can try the same method with some apple cider vinegar. This time use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per small cup of warm water. You can use a stronger solution, but the apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel so rinse well and brush your teeth afterwards. Adding a tablespoon of honey to either solution may not directly help remove food stuck in the throat, bu it won't hurt and will make the process easier.

3

Another method to remove food stuck in the throat is to try to eat something soft. This may be as simple as continuing to eat what you were eating before as the next food coming down the throat can help dislodge the stuck food. However, there are circumstances where this could make it worse, especially if the food stuck in your throat is already difficult to swallow. Choosing something like bread or some sticky rice will serve you better if you want to remove the stuck food as it will stick to it. If using bread, either dip it in some water or let it soak in your own saliva before swallowing. The sticky rice should work on it its own.

Like with gargling the salt water or hydrogen peroxide, it might be helpful to add a little honey to the food stuck in your throat as it will help it stick. If the food is stuck hard in your throat, you may find that you'll have to spit the food out rather than have it go down towards the stomach, so be very careful not to choke if trying to remove stuck food in the throat this way. It is best to have someone else present if possible so that that can provide assistance if something goes wrong.

4

Another trick you can try is to cough it out with a controlled, vocal cough. This will constrict the throat and then expel any particles that are stuck. To do this you can take in a deep breath of air and then try to contract your throat muscles. As you contract these muscles, use your abdominal muscles to try to push air up your throat again. The air should push against the food stuck in your throat and make you cough it out. Do not do this too often, even if you have food still stuck in your throat, as it can lead to choking and be dangerous.

5

Another technique to remove food stuck in he throat involves something many people find distasteful. This is to swallow a raw egg. The emulsified egg can help the obstruction in your throat move and bring the food with it as it enters the stomach. While raw eggs in themselves are not actually bad for you, there is a slight risk of bacterial contamination which can lead to problems such as salmonella. If this is the case then even if you remove the food stuck in your throat, you may not be in a good condition. This risk is actually very low (some studies saying as low as 1 in 30,000 eggs may be contaminated), but to reduce this risk, wash the outside of the shell before you crack the egg as this can be where the bacteria comes from rather than inside.

6

If you think the obstruction is very serious, you may need a more drastic solution. If somebody else is in the room, then the Heimlich manoeuvre might be able to dislodge the food stuck in your throat. This is a method whereby you put pressure on the person's abdomen to push air back through the system. This way the food stuck in your throat will be forced out along with the air. This is similar to making yourself cough, but only when this doesn't provide enough pressure. If you are really stuck and there is no one else around, you may be able to make yourself gag and remove the food stuck in your throat this way. To do this, extend your forefinger and middle finger and push down the back of your throat. This will enable your gag reflex and you may be able to pass the stuck food this way.

However, these are for emergency situations and you should be confidant in first aid if you attempt to use them. If you have food stuck in your throat for a long time, it is best t go see a doctor and be careful not to do anything to yourself which could cause further harm or discomfort.

7

Did these tricks work for you? If they didn't, then perhaps you never actually had food stuck in your throat in the first place. Perhaps it is a symptom of some other condition. If you think this may be the case, then check out our article on why you feel like you have food stuck in your throat to learn about the possible reasons.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO doe not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis.We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat, we recommend you browse around our Family health category.

Tips
  • However, if what you eat passes easily, but you still feel like there is something stuck in the throat, you may have passed the piece and the feeling you are experiencing is just the scratch caused by the piece that was stuck. In this case, wait until your stomach is empty and gargle with warm salt water. This will ensure that no bacteria forms around the throat that may cause the onset of cough or flu-like symptoms.
  • If, no matter what, you still have food stuck in your throat, then we advise you to go to the doctor so you can be checked up by a doctor who can determine how to get rid of this foreign agent in your throat.
Comments (22)

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22 comments
Zach Sery
I Have Dry Chinese Noodle stuck into My Throat
How are Chinese Noodle are Gone into My Throat
bullcoughlin
i have afriend with a piece of meet stuck in his ehrout near the stomick aere what should i do???
Adam
On september the 14th i was drinking juice from a juicebox while sipping through a straw i noticed something touching the ceiling of my mouth and i knew inmediately i swallowed something i should have not swallowed. Tried to vomit and cough it out but was worthless. Went to ER and the Dr. said i should wait for a day or so to pass, he didn't cared much about. Today i still feel awful but not only from that particular incident. I was unlucky enough to go through the same thing 20 days later while eating a muffin in a hurry. But this time i felt complete blockage of my airways. Went to E.R. yet again but this time, they took me an X-Ray and according to the technician nothing could be seen. Today i can barely go to the bathroom to do number 2 and i feel dizzy and tired 24/7. I don't know what to do anymore.
Lacy
I have a piece of Fruit by the Foot candy stuck in my throat, and I'm gulping water down to swallow it. It's probably sticking tightly so it's not coming off. Help!! What do I do?
(Don't worry it's not THAT serious)
OneHowTo Editor (OneHowto editor)
Hi Lacy. If after 24 hours you haven't managed to swallow it, we think it's best you visit your doctor.
Hope this helps
anon
A couple years back I ran into an issue where I had a chunk of steak stuck in my esophagus, it was quite the frightening experience. Initially, I wasn't sure what happened so I chucked down a large gulp of milk and that filled the rest of my esophagus resulting in me running to the sink so I didn't cough up all the liquid right on the table.

After a few hours of standing at the sink, trying to see if milk would help it down with no luck, I decided to just wait. It was a long time of coughing up saliva before I eventually decided to go to the hospital. Their suggestion was soda, and they thought it would help the most. Unfortunately, I was pretty scared to swallow anything as I was afraid of running out of room and choking myself so I never really swallowed "a lot" of soda.

Several hours later, I was booked to have my throat scoped and put in a room where I finally managed to fall asleep. I guess it passed while I was sleeping because they saw no blockage.

My final verdict was "asthma of the throat", and some irritation from stomach ulcers (too much alcohol while I was on vacation). Yes... the food did eventually pass on its own but the entire experience was horrifying.

The article here is good, but I don't necessarily agree with the Editor's response in some of the comments.

Try the suggestions in the article, try soda (this was the hospitals first approach) try sitting straight / laying down, try being patient and letting your saliva fight it, HOWEVER, if at any point you are scared for your life, or you do not have anyone with you to monitor you, I would suggest doing the right thing and going to the hospital. Never take internet advice over advice from a licensed professional.
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Justme
I ate something where it's lodged in my throat . I've this from time to time . One comment on here said , "eating to fast " , that's exactly what I did . After 2 hours I still have throat issues .
All I'm doing is drinking water . I hope we could find an easier way to solve this issue from food , drink
or something .
OneHowTo Editor (OneHowto editor)
You may have scratches from eating too much at once in your throat, which is why it still may hurt. If it hasn't disappeared within 24 hours, visit your doctor.
Hope this helps
Harrison
how long does it take for the saliva to dissolve the food? i can swallow things easy without pain, however i still feel something is still lodged in my throat.
OneHowTo Editor (OneHowto editor)
Hi Harrisson,
There may still be something stuck in your throat, though if you've tried all the methods mentioned in the article, then maybe you just have the feeling of something stuck in your throat.
In this article you'll find all possible reasons:
https://health.onehowto.com/article/what-causes-the-feeling-of-food-stuck-in-your-throat-10228.html

However, if you still have this feeling after 24 hours, we'd advise you to pay a visit to your doctor so he/she can find the source of the problem.

Hope this helps
Jess
This is abit disgusting but it helped me after having some mince stuck down my throat.. I tried drinking water, and also drinking pepsi max I also tried before doing them 2 coughing to get it out it didn't work I tried continually spitting and swallowing it it worked.
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Hi9292
This helped alot. I was going through sooooooo much pain. I'm only 11 too
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Tom
I was eating toxic waste and I did u directions,thx!

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