HealthLife Hacks

Just Can’t Take Tablets? Here’s Your Cheatsheet To Swallowing Pills With Ease

The expression “hard pill to swallow” is not just a metaphor, every 1 in 3 people have problems swallowing their medicine, especially those in the form of pills. It leads people to gag, vomit or choke.

Swallowing pills can be downright painful for many because of this reason. What’s worse is that it can lead to people not having their medicine which will only make them sicker.


Teenage girl taking a pill at her home
Courtesy: Harvard Health-Harvard University


For most, this problem in swallowing pills is a by-product of their mind and not the body.

It usually happens due to the fear of choking or bad experience of choking and going breathless in their early lives. Honestly, though, your throat is biologically able to easily swallow way bigger pieces of food compared to a tiny pill.

So how to take the pill properly then? In a way that you don’t gag and choke on it…

Here’s what you can do, to help yourself or a loved one who has trouble swallowing pills. There are two methods that researchers have found really useful in solving this.

#1 Pop the bottle method for tablets:-

This method has helped people improve the ease of swallowing their medicine in tablet form in 59.7% of the people.


Easy ways to take pills correctly


Steps to use this method:-

  1. Fill an adequate amount of water in a flexible food grade plastic bottle.
  2. Put the tablet on your tongue and put your mouth firmly around the opening of the bottle.
  3. Take a drink from the bottle in a sucking motion without letting air into the bottle. You’ll feel the bottle squeezing in on itself which is how you’ll know you did the technique right. This will push the pill along with the water into your stomach.
#2 Lean-forward technique for capsules

As per the research, this method helped 88.6% of the participants of the study, to swallow their medicine in capsule form.

how to take pills correctly


Steps to use this method:-

  1. Put the capsule on your tongue.
  2. Take a medium amount of water into your mouth but do not swallow yet.
  3. Bend your chin slightly forward towards your chest. Now swallow the capsule along with the water.

What to do if you absolutely can’t swallow pills

If these techniques don’t work for you then doctors suggest that you get an instrumental swallowing assesment. Difficulty with swallowing is a medical condition, and is called Dysphagia which can be caused by problems with nerves or muscles surrounding your throat in which case only a trained medical professional can help you.


Difficulty swallowing pills doctor consultation


You can also practice swallowing with small and safe items like Tic Tac. After you are used to it then move to a little bigger items like little M&Ms and then move to regular M&Ms. This will definitely help you in taking your medicine.

But if you absolutely can’t do pills then consult your doctor and ask them for an alternate form of your medicine. You can even take capsule pills which are much softer and glide easily down the throat.


Courtesy: Testronixinstruments


The doctor could even suggest you the same medicine in smaller pills. You could also ask your doctor for the medicine to be in liquid form many adult medicines come in unique forms today.

If smaller pills and liquids are not an option then ask your doctor if you can make a slurry with tablet or capsule meaning dissolve it in water or other consumable liquid and take it.



Featured image courtesy: Fox News

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Comments (2)

  1. I find swallowing pills easier when I down them with carbonated drinks.

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