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7-year-old son won't swallow solid foods

My son stopped eating solid foods a couple of weeks ago. The doctor checked out his throat and nothing appeared to be wrong. He also has not had any traumatic incidents happen that we are aware of that might trigger this reaction. It began a few weeks ago, he would spit out food occasionally at a meal...this would get worse and he would spit out several times. 2 weeks ago he came home from school without any lunch eaten, this is when I decided to take him to the doctor...strep test was negative, and he doesn't complain of throat pain. He did say it felt like phlegm was in his throat, so we tried Zyrtec in case it was allergies (which he has never been diagnosed with), but the Zyrtec didn't help either. The first few days of this, he would eat certain solid foods, like Cheerios or Goldfish...he has since stopped eating these as well :( He managed to pretty normally chew and swallow an Oreo cookie a few days ago. He is now being treated for possible reflux issues with Prilosec and Pepcid, but I have not seen any changes. If he tries solid food, he visibly chews and chews  the food until it is liquid, but then has to still spit it out, can't swallow even though it's liquid!? I know he isn't trying this, and doesn't want to deal with this...he has said, "I feel stupid," and "I hate food." It is heart breaking to see :( He is living off of yogurt pops, Pedisure, and milk...I am SO worried about him!

Please let me know if anyone has experienced this with their child...thank you!
36 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
He didn't have any choking incidents or anything?  
480448 tn?1426952138
Oh dear, that WOULD be worrisome.  You're doing the right thing by working with the doctor.  I would ask for some further diagnostic tests, like a barium swallow, JUST to ensure there isn't a physical cause.

SM asks an important question, did he have any near choking incidents, or anything like that?  Is anything going on with him, emotionally?  Any big changes in the last few months (even good ones, like a new baby, moving, marriage, etc)?

Prayers that you get some answers and get this resolved.  So sorry your little man is going through this.
189897 tn?1441130118
    First get him off of Prilosec.  Pepcid is ok.
    Second what kind of a doctor are you seeing?  If its just his normal pediatrician, I think its time to see a ENT for starters.  Actually your normal doc needs to know that he now has stopped eating solid food.  This is serious and its time to get more help.  
973741 tn?1342346373
The reason I was wondering is that my son ----  from when he was a little guy just getting on solid food had difficulty chewing.  He's got some motor planning issues and because of this difficulty chewing, he choked on food and gagged often.  As he got older and chewing was no longer a problem, he still gagged and spit out food.  We saw a specialist about this who talked about gag memory.  That just the smell of foods or the texture of foods that were similar to what he's choked on or gagged on would create an involuntary gag.  We had to work to overcome that.  I would cut things up into tiny little pieces that no one could ever choke on and he'd put it in his mouth and gag and spit it out.  It was psychological/neurological.  

So, I was just wondering about that.  I agree that anything medical needs to be ruled out.  good luck
Avatar universal
Thanks all! My son has never had a choking incident, so that stress doesn't come in to play here. Only big change in life us that he started 2nd grade a few weeks ago (year-round schools in NC), but he seems to like school, loves his teacher, and gets along with classmates well...I just can't imagine that would cause enough stress that would make him unable to swallow...IF it is a mental thing. At this point, even if there is an underlying physical cause, he probably does have the gag memory or will have to also deal with the psychological aspect of swallowing...ugh. We are back to pediatrician next week, I'm sure after trying allergy meds and reflux meds without success, we will be sent to specialist.

The doc is aware he's not eating solids...he is living off Pediasure, yogurt pops, milk, etc...poor kid tried a grilled cheese last night, really wanted it and thought he could eat it, But no luck :( In the beginning, he did manage to normally swallow a few things...like cookies (?!), so I do question if its physical...whatever it is, its heartbreaking!

Sandman2, what is wrong with Prilosec?
189897 tn?1441130118
     You can't use it on an as needed basis.  You must take it every day for it to work.  It stops all stomach acid production.  You can become dependent on it and take months to get off of it (my own personal experience).    
     As Public Citizen says, " Summary: PPIs are helpful for some but unnecessary and risky for most."   That is why in Aug. of 2011, " In August, Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to immediately add black box warnings and other safety information concerning several severe risks to the product labels of all PPIs on the market in the U.S. (esomeprazole, dexlansoprazole [DEXILANT], omeprazole, omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate [ZEGERID], lansoprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, esomeprazole and naproxen [VIMOVO];  PRILOSEC OTC, ZEGERID OTC, PREVACID 24-HR; and all other generic counterparts).
We petitioned the FDA to require the inclusion of black box warnings identifying the following risks: rebound acid hypersecretion, which results in dependence on these frequently overused drugs; fracture; infection; and magnesium deficiency."

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189897 tn?1441130118
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