Is It Safe To Swallow Pills Without Drinking Water?

Although dry swallowing pills is a fairly common occurrence, it can actually be quite dangerous. The first thing that probably comes to mind is that swallowing a pill without washing it down with water can be a potential choking hazard. Beyond that, taking a pill with water can help lubricate your throat and prevent the pill from getting lodged in your esophagus which can have potentially severe health outcomes (via The Healthy).

"Medications that are lodged in the esophagus are very likely to cause inflammation and irritation," Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a board-certified family medicine physician and assistant professor at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, told The Healthy. "This can cause a number of symptoms from heartburn and chest pain to esophagitis, or even bleeding and holes."

If left untreated, the pill can actually erode the lining of your esophagus and result in hemorrhaging and critical levels of dehydration. That's why it's best to avoid dry swallowing pills if you can. Drinking water or any other beverage, can help prevent pills from getting stuck in your throat in the first place.

What to do if a pill gets stuck in your throat

If a pill gets stuck in your esophagus after swallowing it dry, you'll want to take action to ensure it doesn't break down while stuck, as this poses a danger to the tissues in the esophagus (via Healthline). Instead, relax your throat and try to wash it down by drinking plenty of water. If the pill is obstructing your airway, however, have someone call 911 immediately. As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, there are a few steps you can take to try to dislodge the pill yourself.

First, make a first with one hand and place it just above your belly button. Then, use your other hand to cover the surface of your fist and hold onto it. Next, find a hard surface to bend over on. This can be a chair, railing, or even the edge of the counter. Once you're bent over and in position, push your fist into your stomach in an upward motion. This will help dislodge the pill from your airway so you can breathe again.