What It Really Means If You Can't Swallow Pills

Many people struggle with swallowing pills into adulthood. Some people go their entire lives being unable to get an entire pill down without cutting it into tiny pieces. Fortunately, this is an issue that medical professionals have dealt with for years and they've figured out some helpful tips to get that pill down.

Why do people struggle with swallowing pills in the first place? For most people, the issue is purely psychological. Aversion to swallowing a pill can happen if you had a scary incident as a child or have choked on something in the past (via Self). Even if you haven't had an issue choking in the past, you may be nervous about something like that happening in the future.

Occasionally, trouble swallowing may be due to a health condition like dysphagia, but you would probably have issues swallowing anything if that was the case. "Only rarely have I encountered someone with a structural problem, such as a narrowed esophagus, which could potentially cause this problem," Morton Tavel, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, told Self.

There are several proven techniques to try

If you have a psychological issue with swallowing pills, there are several techniques that may help you get one down. To begin with, you should never try to dry swallow a pill. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after taking the pill. It may also help to have water in your mouth before the item goes inside (via Healthline). Leaning your head forward as you swallow a pill is another method shown to work well. This method gives you something to focus on (the movement of your head) while you're swallowing the pill and may distract you enough to succeed. Hiding pills in food can be helpful for many people. This works best when using soft foods like applesauce, pudding, or yogurt. However, you should check that your pill can be taken with food before trying this method.

If you are continually struggling with swallowing pills, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about your problem. Being able to swallow pills can become very important if you need to start using a medication that doesn't come in a liquid form. A healthcare professional can help you find the best solution, whether it's psychological treatment or a different prescription.