What Causes Frequent Choking on Saliva or Food?


I often choke on food or my own saliva to the point that I have sever difficulty breathing for about 5 to 20 seconds. I wouldn’t say it happens frequently but it happens often enough that I become worried that the next time I might choke to death. I would like to know the source of the problem. Why do I frequently choke on food or saliva?

So for example, sometimes I am swallowing spit that is produced by the glands in my mouth and a small amount of watery liquid feels like to goes down the wrong pipe. Even though it seems like a small amount of spit, I end up struggling for air. What is causing this?

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Christian 2 years 2021-01-20T05:51:42+00:00 3 Answers 331 views Beginner 1

Answers ( 3 )


    We might need more information to give you an opinion. How old are you? Are you obese/overweight? Do you have GERD or acid reflux. Do you ever have the sensation that you have a lump or burning feeling in your throat? Do you take antacid medication? Do you often lay flat after eating? Do you regularly burp-up food and liquid? Do you have sleep apnea? How long has this been happening?


      I am 36 years old, 5’ 10” and weight 230 pounds. I workout and much of my weight is muscle but I would be very lean at about 190 pounds. I do have acid reflux and a burning sensation in my throat.

      I have talked to my doctor about acid reflux and he prescribed me a prescription acid reducer pill, but never take it. I often over eat and lay down and yes I often burp up food. This has been happening for about 10 years.


        If acid is burning your esophagus then it also means it is affecting the air passage from the throat to the lungs. The stomach acid is causing inflammation and narrowing the windpipe. If it has been happening for 10 years it could cause permanent damage and scarring.

        This would explain why you fight for a breath of air when just a small amount of spit enters the windpipe. Since the windpipe is narrowed from swelling it only take a small amount of anything food/water to obstruct it and cause difficulty in breathing.

        If there is permanent damage you might never fix the problem but you certainly can improve your condition. First, you need to take the medication to reduce the acid. Second, you need to lose as much fat as possible.

        Too much belly fat puts pressure on your stomach and forces the stomach contents and acid up into your esophagus. Third, you need to eat smaller portions of food. If you can bring down your weight and eat smaller portions of food it will allow your windpipe to heal because less acid is being forced into your throat. If you stick to it you might be able to stop the medication.

        You should ask your Otolaryngologists if you need medical imaging and additional advice.

        Best answer

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