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Neil asked...

We are having difficulty with my 12 year old daughter's eating...

We are having difficulty with my 12 year old daughter's eating. She complains about feeling like her throat is closing up when she eats some foods, even small items such as sweetcorn sometimes. This can sometimes end up with her in floods of tears as she is scared. She has been to our GP a few times now and is going again this afternoon. I wanted to know if there were any specialists in this area who could assist us in dealing with this?

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The answer

Thank you for writing to us, we're sorry your daughter has been struggling with this problem. The fact that the swelling of the throat feeling happens with different food indicates that it’s less likely to be something physiological but more towards the psychological.

It is a fear of swallowing/eating that seems to trigger the tightening of the throat, as a response to the overwhelming anxiety felt. This could be because your daughter had a bad experience with some food which caused her to choke on it or caused her to vomit.

Once your GP has categorically ruled out a physiological cause for your daughter’s problem, he or she may consider a referral to a therapist that can deal with this kind of problems, either with cognitive behavioral therapy or a psychologist.

With this in mind, you might find the Young Minds Charity a useful resource. They will be able to offer you support as a parent and guide you through this stressful time for you and your daughter.

Please see the link below for further information:

Phobias - NHS

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses