Is called food impact to the process by which food gets stuck in the esophagus. This phenomenon can be caused by chewing problems, which make it difficult to swallow later, or the situation can occur because the esophageal muscles do not work as they should.
The latter will be due to illness or injury. In any case, it is convenient to identify the problem to find a solution.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that digestion as such begins in the mouth; something that many do not take into account. Eating too fast can cause improper chewing, which will make all subsequent processes difficult.
This first mechanical crushing is essential so that later on the gastric juices perform their functions optimally, obtaining a prompt absorption of nutrients.
Basic physiology of digestion
Once the food is ingested, a process is set in motion by which the food descends into the esophagus through movements called peristaltic. These are performed thanks to the muscles that configure the digestive tract.
If not done correctly, food could get stuck somewhere between your mouth and stomach, creating an uncomfortable sensation. This incident is known as the “food impact”.
Indeed, the impact of food can be caused by a dysphagia problem. Difficulty swallowing is known by this name, as stated by a research published in the journal Communication, audiology and swallowing disorders.
It is an alteration that can occur at any stage of life.; Even in childhood. Common causes of dysphagia include allergies, diffuse spasm, functional disturbances, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and opioid dysfunction.
In general, the symptoms of dysphagia are accumulation of mucus in the esophagus, chest pain, food impaction, the feeling of tightness in the throat and weight loss. It is common for patients suffering from this condition to refuse food, due to the fact that eating causes problems and discomfort.
When to visit the doctor?
If the impact of food occurs in a timely manner, it may not be necessary to consult a specialist. This could be due to bad chewing. Even the fact of not eating well. It is enough to improve habits for the alteration to be resolved, thus avoiding unnecessary inconvenience.
However, when you consistently notice the choking sensation after eating, having something stuck in your throat, or when there is an associated difficulty breathing, it is best to see your doctor. Even in the most extreme cases vomiting may be experienced after eatingfood impact is becoming a real emergency.
In these cases, the first thing that will be done is a medical history which will be accompanied by the execution of an x-ray to evaluate the place where the food is. Later, an endoscopy may also be performed to properly evaluate and diagnose the impaction.
Among the therapeutic options, the use of some drugs should be highlighted. They relax the muscles of the esophagus, thereby improving the movement of food to the stomach. Among all must be mentioned butylscopolamine, glucagon, calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines and nitrates. This last have shown promote tissue relaxation.
Prevention of food impact
Food impact can be prevented in many cases. Sometimes this phenomenon is caused by eating too fast, chewing too little.
Eating fast food could also increase the risk of suffering from these symptoms. It will therefore be enough to take some time to swallow, trying to ensure that the first digestive process takes place efficiently.
Prioritizing fresh foods over processed or hyperpalatable products will also limit the frequency of this disorder.
However, when impaction occurs due to the existence of a condition of the esophageal structure or function, it is best to consult a doctor. In certain cases, there may be a stricture or narrowing of the tubewhich complicates the descent of food through it.
Reflux situations would also lead to impaction in some people. For this reason, it is better to implement food strategies that limit the presence of irritating foods in the scheme that can worsen the symptoms. A study published in the journal Current opinion in gastroenterology confirms it.
It is necessary to use prevention and early treatment. If the reflux persists over time, the esophageal epithelium may be altered.
The impact of food is a digestive problem
The impact of food is an alteration in the digestion process which can cause significant discomfort. In some cases, it is also a reason for urgent consultation.
However, it can usually be prevented, improving habits and ensuring the approach of a proper diet. If it persists, more complex diagnostic tests should be performed to evaluate the origin.
Keep in mind that there are other non-dietary factors that may be closely related to the onset of eating obstruction. An example of them would be overweight. When the body fat percentage increases, the organs located inside the body are put under pressure; including the esophagus.
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