Swallowing Difficulties After a Stroke

Swallowing problems are common in people who've had strokes. Throat and mouth muscles may be weakened, or the connection between these muscles and the brain may be damaged. It's important to address swallowing problems right away, as such difficulty can lead to choking, malnutrition, or even pneumonia.

How you can help

1. Watch for signs of swallowing difficulty and notify the doctor if you notice:

  • Extensive or labored chewing and swallowing.
  • Food stuck in mouth.
  • A cough while eating.
  • A gurgling sound when talking.

2. Ask the doctor to schedule a swallowing assessment.

3. Look into modifying the stroke victim's diet. Prepare soft foods and cut food into small pieces. You may need to thicken liquids to make swallowing easier. Ask the doctor for a referral to a nutritionist.

4. Help the stroke victim focus on eating during mealtimes. Keep talking and discussion to a minimum, as trying to hold a conversation can be very distracting for someone who really needs to pay attention to chewing and swallowing.


Stephanie Trelogan

Stephanie Trelogan writes about heart disease, stroke, and depression issues that concern people caring for their aging parents. See full bio

over 7 years, said...

We should not be referred to as victims but SURVIVORS!!!

over 7 years, said...

It can help with the pills if you crush them and put them in something like applesauce to mask the taste and since it's thicker than water, it goes down much easier. Of course, once my husband's swallowing got better and he was back on regular liquids, he never EVER wanted to eat applesauce again.

over 7 years, said...

It didn't relate/help my question. I know what swallowing difficulties are after a stroke. Thanks though for trying

almost 8 years, said...

My mom has problems taking her pills. We have tried crushing them and getting liquid form but nothing seemed to work until I got her a swallowing spray. That helped alot and she no longer vomits the pills or drops them into the water glass. It was amazing to me since we have fought with this for so long. It is called pillglide.

almost 9 years, said...

since my stroke a year ago i don't like food anymore. anyone else?