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Overcoming Difficulty in Swallowing Pills

Overcoming Difficulty in Swallowing Pills

Many people have trouble in swallowing medication pills. This article shares some tips on overcoming the pill-phobia.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
For most children and many adults even, swallowing medicine pills is a tough task, which they fear to the point of loathing. Almost all drugs and medications come in pill form. People face trouble when swallowing them, because of this fear of gagging, in case they don't go down the food pipe. The bitterness of the tablets makes it even more difficult. This article is written with the intention of helping people get over this phobia.
I, myself, have gone through the phase of dreading swallowing medical pills as a child and I totally understand why people can have trouble with it. None of us are totally immune to diseases and the need to swallow solid medications in tablet form, is inevitable. So, learning the technique of safely swallowing any kind of pill, is a skill that can come in handy. Children are most likely to fear it. Let us look at some simple tricks that will help you or your children in overcoming the fear and the discomfort.
Ways of Overcoming Your Fear
Learning to swallow pills is something you can be better at, with practice and right technique. Here are some tips.
Know The Right Technique
This tip is especially for adults. First of all, relax before taking your pills. Sit in a quiet place with a glass of water and your medication. It is very easily done, once you know the right technique. If you fear it, there is more probability of the fear inducing gagging in your throat, which will ultimately cause the pills to get stuck in your throat. It's a cycle which you must break.
Here is how it's done. Either be in a standing or sitting position when you are swallowing them. Do not do this lying down. Take a pill in your right hand and a glass of water in the other. Take a small sip of water which will moisten your food pipe and lubricate the path for the pill to go down easily.
Open your mouth wide and put your tongue out. Then place the pill as behind on the tongue as possible. Then drink water and look up as you swallow a gulp of water. Follow it up with more gulps of water. Before you know, the pill has reached inside your tummy. The looking up opens up your food pipe wider, which helps in swallowing.
Then, reward yourself with a sweet for the achievement. Practice it with confectionery tablets before you take a real medicine. Tilting you head back also opens up the wind pipe. So make sure you do not gulp water too quickly or this may induce coughing. With practice, you will get better and eventually laugh off the memory of having feared this simple activity.
Use a Syrup Instead
In case of children, avoiding the pill thing is advisable. Most medicines for children come in an alternative syrup form, which is just as effective. So, parents can ask doctors to prescribe syrups, instead of tablets or pills.
If no syrup option is available, mix the capsules or embed them in some foodstuff like ice cream. You could also ground the pill and mix it with a juice or milk. This way, children can easily consume the medicine. Some pills (especially antibiotics) are not supposed to be mixed with dairy products or other foodstuffs before consumption. So, check with the doctor if that is the case with your medication, to be on the safer side.