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I dont know what my problem is. A few years ago, I started waking up in the middle of the night choking on my own spit. It's not just a little cough mind you, but its a total blockage of my airway for 5 seconds or so until I can manage to suck in half a breath, a few more seconds of panic and choking until I can gasp a few more. It's quite terrifying, and very noisy when I can actually force a breath.

Some time after that it started happening while I was awake. I could be sitting there doing nothing or even talking...and all of the sudden, I can feel the spit drop down into my trachea and I'll start choking. It is not nearly as severe during the day, but it quite annoying.

Another major issue, is that I began noticing that when I would sneeze it would cause what I describe as an air pocket in my esophagus that I can feel. This pocket (or whatever it is) triggers an never-ending series of involuntary swallowing reflexes in an attempt (I guess) to rectify the issue, but it only makes it worse. The only way to break the cycle is to refuse the reflex (not easy) and after several seconds when the reflex isnt as strong, I have to force a tiny burp out by just contracting every muscle in my torso and trying to push that little air out. Then after much slobbering, nose-running, watery eyes and throat-clearing...all finds it way back to normal.

what is the problem here?

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I just experienced this exact same thing for the first time last night, it was horrible! I was trying to do some research on what it could be and found this! I didn't get the impression that I was choking on saliva though, I felt like fluid had come up out of my lungs or something.
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I have had the exact same thing happen about 4 times in the last 15 yrs. Most recently on an airplane. I was sitting in my seat as we were taxing out for take off and as I swallowed I felt saliva go down the wrong tube. Very scary for me and those around me who didn't know what to do and neither do I. After much gasping and trying to breath I got some air. I never know when this will happen so I don't know what preventative things I can do. Any ideas-food or liquids have never been involved only saliva.
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My son is 18 and has experienced this same thing 5 times in the past month. The first time it happened I thought he was choking on something and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him only to have him stop me as he wasn't choking on anything but was unable to catch his breath. This is really starting to scare me as it seems the length of time for him to finally breath takes longer and longer. Is there ever a medical response to this issue on this forum?
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Could be sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing in your sleep. Definitely get it checked out. I have just had a sleep study and have mild sleep apnea. Try to sleep on your side, make sure you're getting plenty of sleep and if weight is an issue try to lose some.
If there's an obstructive sleep apnea you could be at risk of heart attacks so go see the doctor. Children can get sleep apnea also. There are devices you can wear in your mouth when you sleep which keep your air passages flowing. An another sighn of possible sleep apnea is snoring and daytime fatigue.
I choke on my own saliva when i'm awake. It feels like i'm drowning, its awful.
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I experience the same thing....the waking up choking, I have stopped eating things like rice corn...even olives it's very scary and sometimes my family and I both in panic and desperation call the ambulance............I have never been told what it is..........I explain in full detail..........I have been given nubilizer...I have been told about sleep apnea.........I never get a strait answer......how is this possible? I have done this for over 20 something years...it's quite scary it can happen anytime, anywhere..........so bad that sometimes I have run outside not even knowing what to do.........how to breath...........it's like trying to breath under water......especially when I get a cold with soar throat so dry I begin to choke......I can only control my panic for so long afterwards it is just too scary......I am 57 years I don't know what to expect in my life with this.......can I be by myself? I have even been driving at some point and my instincts tell me to pull over.......I react so quickly I take off my seat belt.......I get out of the car.........at work it has scared many and many times have had to call ambulance..........I could go on I have and what is sad is that before this happens I am warned......it starts slow and as I attempt to breath slowly very seldom has it not gone into a full blown choking episode..........I pray each night and ask our Good Lord to Bless me........to watch over me.......I call on my guardian angel to watch my breathing...seriously it is very serious......I really do not wish to go this way........I understand how victims of drowning suffer.......It is very sad and when it is over I am still carefully attempting to clear my throat because if I don't do this right it can set me off again........One thing however that has not worked for me is trying to drink water to clear it........it's as if the problem is the esophagus..I don't know........I am scared.........can some one come up with a logical answer?
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Quote:  have you ever gotten an answer on this? This has been happening to me (out of the blue) for the past few weeks (at least once a week). I am just doing normal tasks or just watching TV and all of the sudden I am choking on my own saliva to the point that tears are running down my face and I am about to vomit from coughing so hard.



 

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It's NOT reflux everyone...Unless you've experienced it, please don't try to guess what it is. And I've seen on the internet, that some people wake up choking on saliva and mucus/phlegm....this is not the same thing.

It's horrifying and extremely frightning. It has happened to me in my car , on the freeway, several times where I literally had to pull over from the fast lane to the side of the road. Once, it happened at Church in the middle of the sermon when it was all quiet...thank God, that episode wasn't as long as some of them. It usually happens when I'm alone so family and friends haven't really seen it happen to me. Once, I left a friends house and it happened as I was leaving her neighborhood in my car. It was so bad and I was so scared , that I actually got out of my car because I just couldn't breathe; I was gasping and coughing so hard that I actually lost control of my bladder...and I am not an older person, nor do I have bladder problems. The last time, it happened at home, and it went on for so long that I actually ran to the door to get a neighbor , but then I finally got my air back. And, yes, I have woken up in the middle of the night, just as it is happening...but thank God, it usually happens when I'm awake. Oh, and rarely, it happens when I drink water.

This has happened to me for years..though I can't remember it happening when I was younger.... only as an adult. Sometimes I can control how severe an episode is...usually not. It happens a few times a year to me, usually like this:

I'm going about my business...working, walking around, driving...and all of a sudden a tiny trickle of saliva seems to go down the wrong way and...BAM!!! My windpipe seems to close and I start gasping for air. It's horrible....horrible.  I think to myself,"be calm, you know it will pass". But it is so frightning it is difficult because I keep trying to take a half a breath at least and am unable to do so. And then... finally...I am able to take in air.

Its so strange because I am trying to be rational as it is happening to me and I have tried many things such as:not trying to take a breath...after all, I can hold my breath for long periods of time..so why am I panicking? Also have tried taking tiny mini breaths...sometimes that works. I have wondered if an inhaler would work...I get so desperate when it is happening...it's as though my windpipe is blocked. And by the way, I have prayed my way through many episodes; for peace and strength,  to get my mind off of not being able to breathe.

I have tried looking this up on the internet many times and this is the first time i have found others that have this problem.

If anyone has soved this problem please let us know...

Thank you and God bless you all.

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The same thing happens to me a few times each year. I'm not eating or drinking, I just swallow and it seems that the saliva goes "down the wrong way" and then I can't breathe. All I can do is wheeze and squeak and take tiny shallow breaths. It helps a bit if I stand up, raise my arms and breathe in through my nose and out of my mouth, while trying to stay calm (which isn't easy).  After a scary minute or two, I can breathe normally. Fortunately its never happened while I was driving or while sleeping. I don't have any other health problems, and I'm not overweight. I don't know what the cause is.
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Hi all, I don't have any answers unfortunately but I thought I'd share my own experiences - particularly as I just had an 'episode'.  I'm a 42 year old male, not overweight, fairly healthy but not fit.  I too have been experiencing sudden choking fits that seem to happen at any time.  The last one, about an hour ago, happened when I'd nodded off on the sofa, but this is not the usual experience.  It has happened when sat at my desk at work, driving the car, just out walking.  It can be terrifying.  I can actually feel that my windpipe has tightened and I'm desperately trying to suck air in through a tiny hole.  I sometimes find that breathing through my nose helps, but not always.  Until recently it had never happened in front of my wife.  I had explained it to her and told her that if it ever happens not to panic, just walk away from me (which would be hard for her) and let me sort myself out.  When it happens to me at work I shoot up from my seat and bolt for the door as I find I can sort myself out and it would be better than trying to deal with people who feel they have to come to my aid.  It happened in front of my wife for the first time a few weeks ago and thankfully she handled it very well (its a good job I'd warned her).  Once again however I found myself quickly walking away from her so that I could be alone.  I had explained to her that it was a terrifying experience and warned her of the distress I felt.  Her advice is to go and see a doctor.  To be honest I'll feel a bit of a fraud seeing a doc and saying "Hey, once in a while I choke".  However, I am going to do it so I'll post what happens up on here.  It won't be until next week however as I'm away for a few days.  I guess my only advice is 'keep calm', which I know myself, is easier said than done. 
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Im not glad that it is happening to other people too, but I'm glad I'm not the only one. Your experiences are exactly what happens to me too and quite frequently. but up until last night it has never happened while I was sleeping! I'm trying to find answers too. it has been happening to me since I was about 16 years old, I am now 31. I am quite fit, I rarely drink alcohole (none at the moment) and I don't smoke or take drugs. I have very minor allergies to Lactose, Soy, Wheat and Yeast but these are barley noticeable to me now and usually only effect the lower systems if you get my drift. I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and was on the verge of passing out last night and all I could think of was my other kids are going to find me on the floor in the morning :( I try to stay calm and focus on trying to breathe without panicking, but it really tough. I find if I try and cough or my body trys to make me cough, it makes the situation worse as the oxygen is used up quicker. it can and does happen anywhere at anytime, in the car, in the shower, walking down the street or just sitting on the couch watching tv. my Husband has witnessed it a few times and feels helpless that he cant help me, he sees my eye turn as big as saucepans and the panicked but concentrating look on my face and knows what is about to happen, I feel bad for him too that he has to witness it. I too find it easier to be alone when it happens and will leave the room. I am desperate for answers and a solution to the problem. is it the saliver that closes the throat or is it the panic? will Ventolin help? is there some sort of surgery that can fix it? please help me!
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I am very thankfull to a friend who has sudgested this, Finally some answers!

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I would still be interested in the ooutcome of your drs apointment too

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Hi BessyBaby, unfortunately the moderator blocked the page that you had posted with the 'answers'.    ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed*** Please read our Terms of Use

Ok, so I saw the doctor yesterday.  I got the impression that she thought that 'its just one of those things'.  I've been referred to a radiological department for a barium meal so I'll be doing that sometime over the next week.  The results will go back to the doctor so I'll repost when I know more.  I'm not holding out much hope of a resolution to be honest.  The one thing the doctor did say, which is of some consolation I guess, is that the worst case scenario during an episode would be that I'd pass out.  If that happened the body's natural reaction is to relax the muscles (including windpipe) so everything should sort itself out.  I'll update as soon as I know more.
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This has happened to me and I think it is when a large blob of mucus comes from one of my eustachian tubes out of my middle ear, I think the windpipe closes so that it doesn't go in to the lungs. The same thing would happen if it came from the sinuses.
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Mindarie, I dont think its laryngospasm...at least with me it's definitely not reflux etc.... Please post your results when you see your Dr.

Many thanks!:-P

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