How to Swallow Larger Pills

We sometimes have people tell us that Glucocil’s softgels are too large for them to swallow. The softgels are that size for the sake of efficacy. But, we understand that frustration. The good news is, we have tips to help you swallow any large pill or softgel you take as part of your healthy routine. Before making changes to your routine, speak to your doctor.

If you have difficulty swallowing, don’t try these tips without first talking to a health professional who knows your medical history and can give you personalized advice. Difficulty swallowing is called dysphagia and may be caused by problems with nerves or muscles. “You’ll need a thorough assessment first,” said Dr. Denise Ambrosi, director of the Speech-Language Pathology Department at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. “Maybe there’s something causing the swallowing problems that would only be identified with an instrumental swallowing assessment.”

For people who don’t have a physical problem, it’s psychological, and you can find workarounds. There are specialized cups designed to get the water into your mouth farther back to help you swallow a pill. You can also use lubricants to stop a tablet or gel from sticking in your mouth or throat. And, you can go back to the method that so many of us were taught as children, swallowing it in a teaspoon of pudding, jello, applesauce or other soft foods. Sometimes it’s the idea of consuming something whole rather than the physical act that is the stumbling block. However, some pills shouldn’t be taken with food, and most require you to drink fluids to make sure it’s down. Read labels and ask your doctor or pharmacist about how you should take pills or softgels.

We are generally not designed to swallow solid objects, and therefore can experience difficulty,” said Dr. Stephen Ferrara, associate dean of clinical affairs at Columbia Nursing. Cutting a pill is sometimes a bad idea and for gels, like Glucocil, it won’t work. “Many medications have coatings to be time-released or to protect the integrity of the medication for passing through the gastrointestinal system,” he said. “Patients should try a variety of techniques so that they can safely take their medication for the intended purpose.”

If it is psychological, there are tricks. The pop bottle method is when you put a medication or supplement on your tongue, fill a bottle with water, seal your mouth around the lip of the bottle, suck water from the bottle without allowing any air. This can help you take the pill down along with the water. A study found it boosted people’s ability to swallow pills by 60 percent. You can also do this by putting the tablet on your tongue and drinking water through a straw; it causes that same suctioning motion that aids your ability to swallow the medication. Another, even more effective method which helped people by 89 percent is to put the tablet on your tongue, take a sip of water without swallowing, tilt your head to your chest and swallow with your chin pointing down.

Hopefully, these tips will help you swallow all your supplements and medications more easily in the future!
March 16, 2020
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