Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dysphagia following Botox treatment for Dystonia: that drowning thing!

Don’t you just love it to bits? That feeling of relief experienced after receiving treatment for laryngeal dystonia (a.k.a. spasmodic dysphonia) and or cervical dystonia. Initial Botox treatment finally behind us. Meeting a friend for coffee and telling them about the botox treatment. Mm. The aroma of good quality coffee welcoming you into the coffee shop is so comforting. Then, along comes reality! Eager to enjoy your coffee, the generous sip kind of regurgitates up through your mouth, nose, feeling as though it is coming through eyes and ears too! Oh dear. What a lot of coughing, spluttering and tear shedding, goes on. Not to mention - embarrassment, big time! If you are fortunate, it will happen at home first. The next question is, so what do I do about it?

For the majority of people, dysphagia following botox treatment, aka chemodenervation, resolves naturally some weeks after injection. However, for those people with a propensity for dysphagia, the ongoing experience of difficulty with swallowing raises additional levels of anxiety. Your treating specialist, family doctor or speech pathologist, will be able to assist you determine what action you need to follow. Some people may require thickened fluids and a soft diet.

The booklet “Living with dysphagia: difficulty in swallowing” is an easy to access resource explaining what happens with this medical condition. Dysphagia, following treatment with botox, is easier to manage when using fluid thickener. Your speech pathologist or doctor will be able to advise you about purchasing thickener for fluids. If you need thickened fluids for a short period of time following botox injections you may be able to buy a tin over the counter from your pharmacist. Alternatively, your speech pathologist may arrange for a prescription for you, enabling you to access bulk amounts of the recommended product, so your pharmacist can sell you the product at a reduced cost. In Australia, I obtain prescriptions from a speech pathologist enabling me to purchase my thickener for a lower cost than if I purchased the same product over the counter. I experience on-going dysphagia, not only following treatment.

Hoping this article has been helpful to you in gaining further information and resource material.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.


Maria said...

Hi Sue,
My medical professionals advised a way to swallow liquids which minimized choking without having to use thickeners. When swallowing, take smaller sips and tuck the chin in toward the neck. This really helps! The good news is that this period of difficulty swallowing, for me, lasted only a few weeks following the botox injection.

Sue Bayliss said...

Hello Maria. Thank you. Good to hear you found the good old chin-tuck trick works. I use that method too if I don't have any thickener on me or if in a social situation where it is just too much trouble to get my thickener out of my handbag - like when travelling on planes. This is a good method to use if there is not already a dysphagia problem. I am really pleased you left this comment. It is a good trick for people to use and I hadn't thought to mention it! I have dysphagia all the time but post injections it gets much worse - not a nice experience nor a good look when out and about having coffee!

Haven't got my DVD on Twisted yet. Will contact the people by email today. Never had to wait this long for anything from the States before. Maybe it will arrive today!

Yvonne said...

Hi Sue
Thought this link - Study about Botox B and its high antigen build up levels might be interesting to fellow sufferers.
Im still waiting for my copy of twisted as well so might drop them an email as well.
Hope the link works.

Sue Bayliss said...

Thank you Yvonne. Is the journal, American Academy of Neurology? I couldn't get to the actual article. Got things happening now so will have another look later.

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