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hiccups and panic


Registered User
Aug 9, 2019
My mother was diagnosed quite a while ago but her deterioration has been slow. She knows me and her grandchildren, sometimes remembers the name of my daughters boyfriend and is quite capable of having a conversation although it is very repetative and she can be very irrational - that doesn't describe it at all!

She has always eaten well but recently she has got what seems like hiccups while eating and she then starts spitting out phlegm. This makes her very panicky and distressed. I initially found this difficult as it seemed just like hiccups and she has always had a predisposition towards being very dramatic about any sort of illness. However, now I am remembering my father (whose dementia was far worse) going through this problem around eating. Having said this she seems ok with cake which she would live on given half the chance.

I know it is common that people in the later stages lose the ability to swallow but she seems a way away from that stage. Has anyone else experienced this? As everyone else does, I am finding all this very hard, the weekends seem to be swallowed up by caring for my mother, doing her shopping, sorting stuff out and like everyone else I am overwhelmed. The thought that she won't be able to eat a meal with us (without this attack of hiccups/belching and spitting) anymore is upsetting, it was a little bit of normality in amongst the usual chaos.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello @Hamilton10

This sounds a really distressing problem and out of my experience. I hope someone will be able to advise you tomorrow because it`s a bit late now for many to be on line.


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
Hi @Hamilton10

I’ve not experienced anything like this either but it sounds very distressing. I wonder if the SALT team would be able to help at all? Even though she hasn’t lost her swallow maybe some types of food are “going down the wrong hole” as my gran would say.