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Thread: When food goes down the wrong pipe, how does it get to the stomach?

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    Gold Member TulipWriter's Avatar
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    When food goes down the wrong pipe, how does it get to the stomach?

    Last night I was eating dinner of medium pasta shells and meatballs. One of the pasta shells got stuck in my throat; not in my windpipe, but somewhere in my neck. I could feel it, and if I gagged it would've gone up my throat into my mouth. I didn't want to do that so I kept drinking water until it went down. (Didn't take too long, which is good.)

    But it was an (understandbly) unpleasant feeling. I was afraid to gag it up for fear of choking or vomiting. But if it happens again, should I just do what I did (keeping sipping water)? What if that doesn't work? As the forum title reads, how does it even get to the stomach if food is stuck in the wrong pipe (but evetually goes down)?

    Has anyone had to go the ER as a result of something like this? (Or had to be hymleched?)

    Thanks!

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    We actually only have ONE PIPE. That whole, "it goes down the wrong pipe" thing is not accurate at all. People just say that when it doesn't go down their pipe properly.

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    Silver Member engraved2008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autumnrose View Post
    Last night I was eating dinner of medium pasta shells and meatballs. One of the pasta shells got stuck in my throat; not in my windpipe, but somewhere in my neck. I could feel it, and if I gagged it would've gone up my throat into my mouth. I didn't want to do that so I kept drinking water until it went down. (Didn't take too long, which is good.)

    But it was an (understandbly) unpleasant feeling. I was afraid to gag it up for fear of choking or vomiting. But if it happens again, should I just do what I did (keeping sipping water)? What if that doesn't work? As the forum title reads, how does it even get to the stomach if food is stuck in the wrong pipe (but evetually goes down)?

    Has anyone had to go the ER as a result of something like this? (Or had to be hymleched?)

    Thanks!
    Yes..i almost died one day with a piece of meat,but someone that knew how to perform CPR saved me....be careful with talking and eat without chewing.

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    When you feel something goes down the wrong pipe, really the food just touched the opening or the safety door of the wrong pipe. it didn't actually go down there. It won't get stuck halfway in your lungs. it just may block the opening or not even the opening to it, but a spot in the throat where nothing can go down either pipe - food or air.

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    Platinum Member Victoria66's Avatar
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    The epiglottis opens when we breath and closes to let the food to by pass the entrance to the lungs.( so to speak) It is the simple version. Sometimes people get stuff caught in the opening. That is when they use the heimlich. Mostly when we get the gag feeling is because we grazed the opening.
    Sept 23/2014 Asperger's diagnosis for my son. " in a box not a bottle"

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    Platinum Member Deciduous's Avatar
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    Hi Autumnrose

    As you know, there's two pipes in the throat, the food pipe to your stomach and a wind pipe to your lungs. Yours did go down the right food pipe to your stomach, it just got stuck. If it had gone down your wind pipe, you would have stopped breathing and choked to death. Ouch!

    Sometimes, even though you have chewed enough, the throat muscles goes into spasms. Clenching and unclenching, but not really shifting, which is great fun as you can imagine. It's mainly an anxiety thing with me. Don't know why it happens. Not to be disgusting I usually force it up because it won't go down, and I start to panic which makes it worse. Any-way sounds like you sorted yours out by softening it with water. Maybe it simply wasn't chewed enough.

    Any-way, this is what I had. Cricopharyngeal spasm. http://www.voicedoctor.net/therapy/cps.html Not sure if yours is the same.

    Deci
    Last edited by Deciduous; 09-13-2011 at 01:37 PM.

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    Platinum Member Victoria66's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peristalsis

    This also moves the food down through your digestive system.
    Sept 23/2014 Asperger's diagnosis for my son. " in a box not a bottle"

    If you judge people you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

    Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow me and I will give you rest

    As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

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    There is only one pipe that food is supposed to go down, and that is the esophagus. And the other poster is correct in that we have a flap that covers our airpipe (the trachea) while we are swallowing.

    If food gets stuck in the esophagus, then you will either need to let yourself gag it up (you can use a napkin) or swallow it down. Using water to wash it down was a good idea for you.

    It sounds as if it got caught in the flap before it closed properly, and your body's natural protection (the gag response) went into action.

    If you had inhaled your food, it would have gotten into your trachea and then into your lung. Some people do not have a strong gag response, due to brain injury or stroke. The body may not prevent food from going down into their lungs. Often people that have that problem may have frequent pneumonia in the left lower lung lobe, due to the way our lungs are anatomically positioned in relation to the trachea and esophagus.

    But all of us choke on food from time to time. Just be careful when eating, and hope that all your friends and family know the heimlich!

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    Gold Member TulipWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luminousone View Post
    There is only one pipe that food is supposed to go down, and that is the esophagus. And the other poster is correct in that we have a flap that covers our airpipe (the trachea) while we are swallowing.

    If food gets stuck in the esophagus, then you will either need to let yourself gag it up (you can use a napkin) or swallow it down. Using water to wash it down was a good idea for you.

    It sounds as if it got caught in the flap before it closed properly, and your body's natural protection (the gag response) went into action.

    If you had inhaled your food, it would have gotten into your trachea and then into your lung. Some people do not have a strong gag response, due to brain injury or stroke. The body may not prevent food from going down into their lungs. Often people that have that problem may have frequent pneumonia in the left lower lung lobe, due to the way our lungs are anatomically positioned in relation to the trachea and esophagus.

    But all of us choke on food from time to time. Just be careful when eating, and hope that all your friends and family know the heimlich!
    Thank you, this was comforting. Sometimes I practice the heimlich on myself just in case no one is around.

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    Gold Member TulipWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxana View Post
    Yes..i almost died one day with a piece of meat,but someone that knew how to perform CPR saved me....be careful with talking and eat without chewing.
    Don't you mean the heimlich? (When they got it out of your throat, they had to perform CPR because you couldn't breathe on your own?) I'm glad you ended up okay.

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