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Afos22's avatar

What to do about a multivitamin that was/is in my windpipe?

Asked by Afos22 (3575 points ) October 23rd, 2011

For the past couple days, my throat hurt well below my adam’s apple when I would move my throat into a position to make a deeper pitch. You know, how your adam’s apple drops lower when you go to use a deeper voice. Just an hour or so ago I remembered that 6 or 7 days ago I took a men’s multivitamin. I didn’t have anything to wash it down with. I placed it in the back of my throat, and it slipped down. I thought nothing of it, but I should have. I didn’t swallow it, It slipped down my wind pipe.

For the past hour I’ve been leaning upside down, tapping at my throat, exhaling violently, coughing, and trying to force it out of my wind pipe if it were still there.

Would it have dissolved? They’re pretty dense and large? If it is still in there, how should I get it out? If it isn’t still there, and it is just irritated, how can you assure me that it has disolved? But, I’m almost certain that its still in there. What should I do?

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40 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

What you should do is see a doctor, if you think you have a vitamin stuck in your windpipe. Whatever’s going on, if it is causing you to cough and exhale “violently” then you need to see a doctor.

marinelife's avatar

See a doctor.

Unless you think it would be able to be dissolved with hot water. In which case you could swallow some (not too hot you don’t want your throat to swell).

Lightlyseared's avatar

If something that size was stuck in the windpipe you would know about it. You would have severe difficulty breathing and you would be calling 911 not looking on the internet.

cazzie's avatar

An irritant that size in your windpipe would make you choke. You would have noticed it instantly, if you had ‘inhaled’ the vitamin instead of ‘swallowed’ it. Your bronchial tubes would go into spasm. They are sensitive. Nor would it ‘dissolve’ in your windpipe. Anyone who has had food or drink go down ‘the wrong way’ can attest to that feeling.

However, your oesophagus isn’t as sensitive, but it travels down your throat, side by side for a while. It sounds like you may have irritated your oesophagus, (the pipe your food goes down), considerably. You should go to a doctor and get it looked at if it hurts that bad. Try to relax. Holding your throat tight and making yourself cough can cause problems.

The awesome thing about your oesophagus is that you have involuntary muscles running all the way down it, squeezing it and forcing the food down to your stomach. When we swallow (and we swallow over 2000 times a day) we help set in action those muscles and they push down what ever we shove down there, be it food, drink or pills.

By not taking a drink with the pill, the muscles probably had a harder time getting the pill to your stomach, especially if you were a bit dehydrated.

I would gargle with some salt water and see if that helps. If the pain persists, especially when you are eating or drinking food, see a doctor.

Hope this helps.

flutheragain's avatar

My mother told be the other day to never dry-swallow tablets, because she read about some woman in the newspaper who discovered a tablet had been stuck in her throat and it had burned though the windpipe/esophagus or whatever it was. Another vote for the doctor. though it’s probably not in your windpipe. Hope not anyway!

HungryGuy's avatar

Get thee to the emergency room ASAP. If it should shift, you’ll suffocate within a couple of minutes.

Rarebear's avatar

Yup. Doctor. If a pill is stuck in your windpipe it needs to be removed bronchoscopically. You’re not going to suffocate, but if it’s really stuck in there, it could get stuck in a bronchus and cause a post-obstructive pneumonia.

Afos22's avatar

Is there a way to coax it out on my own if it really is stuck in there? Put yourself in my shoes. If there were something you could do, to avoid having to go to the doctor, you’d do it. Also, the coughs were intentional.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If it is actually stuck in your wind pipe then you need to see a doc. Now. There is nothing you can do to get it out on your own.

Rarebear's avatar

@Afos22 Standing on your head and coughing is the only thing that comes to mind, and you’ve already done that.

Afos22's avatar

I just submerged one of the same multivitamins in warm water. It is disintegrating pretty rapidly. So maybe it has already disintegrated within my windpipe and it is just irritated. I’ll let you know how the rest of my experiment works out. It has been in the water for about 10–15 minutes so far and has lost at least 20 percent of its volume.

Rarebear's avatar

I’ll say this one more time and then I’ll leave you alone. If you seriously inhaled a pill, and you can’t get it out intact you need to see a physician.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If there was enough moisture in your windpipe to make the tablet start to dissolve it will turn in to a sludge first and block your bronchus and you will then suffocate. At this point even if you were to attend ER imediately there is probably little they coud do before you died.

Afos22's avatar

After about 35–40 minutes, there is only about 20–25% of the original volume left. Keep in mind, I inhaled this thing about a week ago.

Afos22's avatar

The fact that I haven’t choked on sludge and died means a few things:

A) The thing has already disintegrated and my body is working on cleaning it out.*
B) It is still fully intact 7 days later
C) It is still slowly disintegrating
D) My bronchi are wider than the volume of sludge or the vitamin didn’t wait until every last bit of it were sludge before sliding into my bronchi.
E) I am on the verge of death by sludge

I am certain that I will never ask for medical advice on fluther ever again. Your replies would send any less-stable person into a frantic race to the emergency room, possibly further injuring her/himself while in a panic, only to find out that they would have been fine and now they have to pay for all the procedures.

I mean, I could see your concern if you didn’t know that the vitamin would dissolve at a moist body temperature, but if you said that I may die after finding out that it dissolves…

Rarebear's avatar

“I am certain that I will never ask for medical advice on fluther ever again”

Good plan.

Lightlyseared's avatar

You missed out F) you never inhaled it in the first place and can’t tell the difference between a sore throat and something choking you.

cazzie's avatar

@Lightlyseared I was trying to write something in that regard, but I didnĀ“t want to be that blunt… but yeah.

Afos22's avatar

or F) I didn’t inhale it

cazzie's avatar

No, you did not inhale it.

Response moderated (Spam)
augustlan's avatar

Just an FYI: @Rarebear is a physician, and @Lightlyseared is an ER nurse, if I remember correctly. I would follow their advice.

Rarebear's avatar

@augustlan Not only am I a physician, but I’m a physician who does endoscopies and pulls crap out of people’s esophagus and trachea all the time.

augustlan's avatar

Listen to that man ^^.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Rarebear

Wow, that sounds like such a fun job ! I’m envious~~

:D

cazzie's avatar

@Rarebear Wouldn’t he have started choking like crazy 6 days ago, when he initially inhaled the thing? If something gets past my epiglottis, I know it right away.

Afos22's avatar

@Rarebear was very helpful =)

Rarebear's avatar

@cazzie Yes, he would have been coughing, but he’s the one who started out this thread by talking about how he inhaled a vitamin pill. The vitamin pill is either there or it’s not. If it is, and it hasn’t come out by now, he needs professional help. If it’s not there, then it’s a moot question.

cazzie's avatar

He didn’t say he had a coughing fit when he took the pill. If he had a coughing fit when he took the pill, wouldn’t he have said?

Rarebear's avatar

@cazzie Sure. That’s why I think it’s unlikely that he actullly inhaled it. He’s the one who said he inhaled it so I was taking him at his word.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Rarebear – Right. If he inhaled a pill, his airflow would have been restricted and he’d have been gasping for breath. He’d have gone to emergency on his own without needing to ask anyone first…

Rarebear's avatar

@HungryGuy No, actually. A pill isn’t big enough to restrict airflow.

cazzie's avatar

@HungryGuy but enough to induce one hell of a coughing fit.

cazzie's avatar

@Rarebear , yes… and that is why I answered the question the way I did, trying to explain what I suspected happen, rather than be short and rude with the poster.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Rarebear although it could easily trigger laryngospasm

Rarebear's avatar

@Lightlyseared Oh, that’s true, of course. But it wouldn’t have been obstruction from the pill itself, that’s all I’m saying.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Rarebear a comforting thought while your own body suffocates you. ;)

Rarebear's avatar

@lightlyseared I’ve actually had to deal with acute laryngospasm relatively recently. Scary as hell. We extubated this patient and she immediately went into laryngospasm. She desaturated and I couldn’t get her reintubated because the cords were shut. Fortunately she had a little airway, so we could bag her and keep her oxygenated and the anesthesiologist came up and was able to get a 6.0 tube in. She ended up doing fine after we gave her some steroids.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Rarebear pulled a Volkswagen out of my throat once. Remember that? Long story. : )

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