Are you or do you know anyone who has difficulty swallowing tablets? It is very typical to experience trouble with swallowing a tablet. However, how actual this fact is, very few people are aware of this condition. So let’s break it down to find out more about it.

Many patients have trouble swallowing tablets. It might be a medical issue or a preference. The former can range from dry throat to pain while swallowing, which needs immediate attention.

If you have any swallowing difficulties, you should immediately inform your doctor. They will make a proper diagnosis to find the underlying problem and give you a solution for that. Many alternatives work for most people who struggle with swallowing a tablet. It’s often a matter of getting an injection, syrups, or remedies to help with swallowing.

Since pills can seem to be a turn-off for some patients, are they challenging to swallow?

Are Tablets Difficult to Swallow?

Difficulty in swallowing is a thing. There are people out there, probably you included, who have trouble swallowing their tablets. This might arise for different reasons but eventually develops into a phobia if not attended to early. So why is this so?

Why Swallowing Tablets is Difficult?

There are various reasons why people experience difficulties with swallowing tablets;

  • For instance, some medical conditions affect swallowing, and as a result, causing chest pain after swallowing a pill.
  • Having a dry mouth also creates a significant problem if you want to swallow any tablet. As mentioned earlier, some people have tablet swallowing phobia.
  • Dysphagia is a condition that’s identified with difficulty in swallowing foods and drinks. Tablets also fall into that category.
  • The tablet size also is another reason why people might experience trouble with swallowing tablets. People with smaller or blocked throat paths cannot swallow bigger tablets as it will be challenging.
  • The texture, odor, and taste of the pills is also a factor to consider. Some folks are turned off by the rough surface, foul odors, and bitter tastes of drugs, which cause them to struggle in swallowing them.
  • General preference. This is more of a mental perception as people deem tablets uncomfortable to them without any valid reason. This drives them into avoiding the tablets and finding it difficult to swallow.

How Many People Face Such Challenges?

Patients with dysphagia may experience difficulties swallowing tablets, so we categorize a majority of them in this section. However, research suggests that about 40% of the global population experiences problems with swallowing their pills. This is an alarming discovery.


Studies have evaluated the physiological aspect of swallowing tablets in a selected group of people with dysphagia. The findings were that more than 60% of people with dysphagia symptoms have trouble swallowing pills.

The participants were 65 years old and above. 70% of the younger people aged between 16 and 35 years old also experience swallowing pills.

  • Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a condition associated with difficulty in swallowing. It seems to be a significant game player in patients with difficulty in breathing.

  • Symptoms of Dysphagia

The common symptoms of dysphagia include;

  • Having troubles with chewing
  • Troubles with moving food in the mouth
  • Any food or drink coming back up after swallowing
  • Coughing may be during or after taking a meal.
  • Causes of Dysphagia

Various triggers result in dysphagia. Some of them include;

  • Taking large bites of food
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Inadequate chewing
  • Too hot or cold foods
  • Prescribed pills that pain in esophagus after swallowing pill.

Older adults are more prone to experiencing dysphagia. Dysphagia results in a dry mouth as there is low saliva production in the mouth. Furthermore, medical conditions such as neurological stroke conditions such as motor neuron disease can cause dysphagia.

  • Underlying Conditions that Cause Dysphagia

To expound on the possible causes, let’s look at the underlying conditions that trigger dysphagia.

swallowing tablets

  • Having a dry mouth

Aging is full of grace, but it can present some medical struggles. Getting older can lead to a decreased amount of saliva in the mouth. This, in the long run, makes swallowing tablets difficult. Certain medications can also cause a dry mouth. If one swallows a pill with a dry mouth, one will experience chest pain after swallowing pill without water.

  • Stroke

When it comes to the early stages of stroke, about 50% of these patients experience swallowing difficulties for the first few weeks.

  • Neurological problems

Any damage caused to the nervous system interferes with nerves that are responsible for the swallowing process.

  • Old age

Research shows that about 60% of people who are 60 years old and above experience trouble with swallowing solid medicine such as tablets.

  • Other diseases

Diseases such as Parkinson’s affects a person’s ability to swallow solid tablets. Around half of the people with Parkinson’s disease experience swallowing difficulties

  • Throat issues

If you have any related infections, the throat hurts after swallowing a pill.

  • What Can You Do About It?

The solutions that can help reduce the swallowing difficulties include;

  1. Change one’s diet. The foods you often eat determine what you can pass through your throat. A medical practitioner can help you decide the foods that you can eat to make your swallowing easier.
  2. Dilation. It’s a treatment that’s meant to expand your esophagus. This process needs to be done more than once.
  3. Undergoing surgery. Surgery is advisable for people who have anything blocking the esophagus to remove it.
  4. Use medicine. Medicines can help prevent stomach acid from entering one’s esophagus if your dysphagia is related to heartburn or esophagitis. Oesophagus infections are treated with antibiotic medication.
  5. Do exercises that stretch your swallowing muscles. It would be best if you learned how to position your food in the mouth before swallowing it. Also, you are supposed to train your muscles to coordinate and do work together for easier swallowing.
  6. Endoscopy. Endoscopy removes any object stuck in the esophagus so quickly. Once the thing is removed, swallowing becomes easier.


Difficulty in swallowing is a common problem for many individuals. Multiple reasons cause it, and there are many solutions to sort the issue out. Getting the proper diagnosis will help you know how to address your swallowing issues. Seek professional help if you have any tablet swallowing difficulty.

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