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Aspirating Food

I'm considering getting the advice of a medical professional soon but I would like to get advice here first, if there are any doctors. I think this would allow me to have a better two-way conversation with my doctor, instead of me just listening to whatever he/says.

You see, lately, I've been aspirating food at almost every meal, and this has been going on for the past month. It's not like I'm inhaling whole chunks of food, but every time I eat I feel like something's getting stuck in my throat. I would feel a slight build up of thin, clear phlegm (I could tell it's phlegm because it's slightly salty). However, rarely do I feel that the phlegm has carried any of the food I aspirated.

Doing this after every meals has become really annoying and I am afraid that I might develop aspiration pneumonia soon, or some other lung disease. As of now I feel perfectly healthy - I experience no shortness in breathing, I have no cough, chest pains, etc - any symptom of aspiration pneumonia that I've read online. But I fear that I might have already pneumonia that is slowly progressing and that the symptoms may show up once it's already too late. The fact that I have GERD just makes things worse.

So I guess I should see a pulmonologist/lung doctor. What things should I expect when I see one? Should I immediately ask for a bronchoscopy? Is there anything I can do to avoid aspirating food? If there are referrals, that would also help :).

If there's anyone here who has experienced what I currently have, I would also like to hear your story.


  • LesLes PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    A pulmonologist isn't the recommended specialist to evaluate your condition. Rather, you should see an otorhinolaryngologist (ORL), more commonly known as an "ENT" doctor. Based on your story, it seems the problem is related to swallowing, which is why you have a fear of aspirating food. ENTs specialize in evaluating swallowing disorders and problems with the upper airway, thus I would recommend you see one.
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