There are lots of people who experience difficulty and hesitation when it comes time to swallow a pill. People may make it look easy, but it’s not particularly a natural concept. This is especially true for children who have never swallowed pills before. They may have difficulty understanding what to do and have a tough time coming to terms with the execution. So if you’re part of the group that has trouble figuring out how to swallow a pill, this guide is for you.
We’ll talk about why exactly it can be hard to swallow a pill and give you 7 strategies that you can use to make it easier for you or your children.
Why Is Swallowing So Difficult?
Swallowing is a pretty complex process involving several reflexes and nervous system pathways. While eating or drinking food, swallowing might be completely natural. However, when it comes time to swallow a foreign object, especially without chewing it, you might find yourself putting too much thought into the process. So why does this happen?
Well, you might be experiencing Globus pharyngeus; it’s the familiar sensation of tightness or a lump in your throat without there being a physical blockage. The feeling might be overwhelming and can prevent the complex sequence of muscular contractions that facilitate swallowing from occurring.
Stress and anxiety contribute to the feeling. And the best way to get rid of it is to try to relax and not think about the process of swallowing. The less you think about it, the easier it’s going to be.
7 Strategies For How To Swallow A Pill
1. Drink Lots Of Water
The most popular method is to drink as much water as necessary to swallow the pill. You can try putting the pill in first and then drinking water normally while completely relaxing your mind and not thinking about it too much. Alternatively, you can have a sip of water, hold it in your mouth, then place a pill in and drink the rest to swallow it. Drink as much as you need to!
2. Drink Another Beverage
If you’d like, you can also substitute another beverage such as fruit juice for water. Use the same techniques as mentioned in Tip #1. The flavor of the beverage may distract you from the pill. Make sure, though, that the beverage does not contain any ingredients that are contraindicated for the medication you’re taking. This is true, for example, for grapefruit juice and some cholesterol-lowering drugs.
3. Lean Your Head Forwards or Backwards
You can try tilting your head backward with your chin up and take your pill with a generous sip of water. Then, as you swallow, tilt it forwards quickly. This can help you focus on the movement instead of the pill, allowing the swallowing reflex to occur uninhibited.
4. Use a Straw
Drink a beverage or water through a straw after you’ve placed the pill in your mouth. Focusing on the sucking action can make it easier to swallow the pill.
5. Take It With A Spoonful Of Soft Food
Like you’d trick your pet into taking its medication by hiding it inside food, you can put your pill inside a spoon of soft food that you’re used to eating. Yogurt, applesauce, pudding, custard, or Jell-O can work great. Make sure to ask your doctor if the pill is okay to take with food.
6. Use A Pill-Coating Lubricant
There are special lubricants available to make pills go down easier. These come in spray or gel form and are come in flavors to make them more comfortable to swallow. You can buy these online or at your local pharmacy.
7. Ask Your Doctor For A Change
If it’s absolutely difficult for you to swallow a pill, many pills come in other forms, such as liquids, gels, or powders. Ask your doctor if you can get your prescription changed to a form that’s easier for you to take.
The most important thing for your health is to take your prescribed medication as directed and follow your doctor’s advice. If it’s difficult for you to take your pills, don’t get discouraged and stop taking them. A qualified doctor will be able to help.
Aqeeq Internal Medicine is your best primary care practice in the Houston area. We aim to give you personalized, compassionate, high-quality care, and our focus is always to put your health first. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at (832) 786-8195.