Taking care of yourself means eating right, exercising and drinking plenty of water, among other things. Sometimes you may need to take a pill - be it to fight a headache, treat an ongoing health issue or get the vitamins your body needs. If you can take pills without issue, that’s great. But, swallowing pills is a major challenge for many people. In fact, around 40% of American adults have difficulty swallowing pills. The reasons vary from physical to psychological. For example, some people find pills cause a bad aftertaste or make them gag. Having difficulty swallowing pills, however, can affect your supplement intake, which may negatively impact your plans for supporting health and nutrition.
First and foremost, consult with your healthcare professional about any supplements you are taking, and if you have had difficulty swallowing for any reason. It’s important to receive a thorough assessment to ensure the trouble swallowing doesn’t stem from a larger issue, like dysphagia (difficulty swallowing caused by problems with nerves or muscles). If you have done that and still have issues with swallowing pills, we’ve put together four simple tips that can make the process much easier.
1. Adjust Your Posture
There are two main ways to adjust your posture and make pill swallowing easier for you. One option to try is the “pop-bottle method.” You place a tablet on your tongue and then put your entire mouth around the top of a plastic soda bottle filled with liquid. Drink a small amount with your mouth still around it and you’ll have some help swallowing from the vacuum created by the bottle. For capsules, the “lean-forward method” may be a better option. To do this, you would take a pill as normal with liquid, but keep your head tilted forward toward your chest at all times.
2. Add Your Pill to Food
For capsules, you can simply open it to add the contents to the food of your choice, such as applesauce or pudding. If it’s a pill, grind it into a powder. If you have a smaller pill, you may be able to hide it in peanut butter or another substance without grinding. Before you grind a pill or break it apart, however, make sure it is not a timed-released formula. Ask your healthcare professional if this would be an acceptable way to take your pill.
3. Use Pill Swallowing Aids
For those who have no problem swallowing food or liquids but struggle swallowing pills, there are some tools on the market that can help. Check out the various pill-swallowing aids available, such as pill-swallowing straws and cups, pill-coating devices, and gels and sprays that make it easier to swallow pills whole. This method can help you take pills without modifying the dosage form.
4. Practice Swallowing
Practice makes perfect. A recent article in health and wellness magazine SELF suggests that people can train themselves by swallowing small, safe objects like little candies. You may start with a large sprinkle, and move to a small breath mint and even a small chocolate candy.
So, if you do have trouble swallowing pills, give them another chance by trying some of these tips and techniques. Additionally, you may wish to look at the easy-to-swallow options available from New Chapter, which can help your nutrition regimen be more successful. Their easy-to-swallow supplements include Tiny Tabs Multivitamins, Wholemega Whole Fish Oil Tiny Caps, Zyflamend Whole Body Mini Softgels, and Bone Strength Take Care Tiny Tabs, all designed for ease of swallowing.