Difficulty or inability to swallow pills. For some individuals with pill dysphagia, swallowed pills may tend to lodge in the person’s vallecula, due to presbyphagia. For others, swallowed pills may tend to lodge at the level of the cricopharyngeus muscle, due to cricopharyngeal dysfunction. Yet other individuals may experience pill dysphagia from childhood, perhaps due in part to fear, such that the person cannot commit to swallowing a pill without gagging at the prospect.


Pills can get Stuck and Burn

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Superficial ulceration (1 of 4)

Superficial ulceration of post-arytenoid and -cricoid mucosa, where a pill was lodged in her throat. It took several hours to melt it with many sips of water; a sore throat ensued.

Superficial ulceration (1 of 4)

Superficial ulceration of post-arytenoid and -cricoid mucosa, where a pill was lodged in her throat. It took several hours to melt it with many sips of water; a sore throat ensued.

Inflamed pyriform (2 of 4)

Closer view. Note inflammatory reaction in left pyriform (right of photo) and left arytenoid (right of photo) apical mucosa (arrow and 'X', respectively).

Inflamed pyriform (2 of 4)

Closer view. Note inflammatory reaction in left pyriform (right of photo) and left arytenoid (right of photo) apical mucosa (arrow and 'X', respectively).

Oropharyngeal dysphagia (3 of 4)

After blue-stained applesauce, this residue confirms that the patient has mild oropharyngeal dysphagia.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia (3 of 4)

After blue-stained applesauce, this residue confirms that the patient has mild oropharyngeal dysphagia.

Hypopharyngeal crescent (4 of 4)

After blue-stained water pools in an organized way in the hypopharyngeal crescent, the question of cricopharyngeus muscle dysfunction (non-relaxation) is raised, but not yet confirmed.

Hypopharyngeal crescent (4 of 4)

After blue-stained water pools in an organized way in the hypopharyngeal crescent, the question of cricopharyngeus muscle dysfunction (non-relaxation) is raised, but not yet confirmed.