Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to Swallow a Big Pill

Have a large or bitter pill to swallow?  Need help?  Here I am, ready to share some common knowledge.

What works for me
  1. Place the pill lengthwise along your tongue - toward the front - not on the tip - just before you get the harder lumpy part.  You'll feel it when you put the pill down. (I used to put it as far back as I possibly could with the unpleasant result of tripping my gag reflex)  You want the water to be able to catch the pill and carry it along.  If it's too far back, it will get caught on your already nervous tongue.
  2. Slowly fill your mouth with something you like to drink (like juice or Gatorade).  You're taking a horse pill - you deserve something more than water if you want it.
  3. Don't swallow as soon as the drink is in your mouth.  Fill it comfortably - you shouldn't feel like it's going to come out because there's too much.  Just comfortably full.
  4. Swallow at a quick but comfortable pace.  Don't try to bolt it - you want the part of your tongue that touches the top of your mouth to lay down.
Sometimes, even the best intentions don't work.  For instance, when I was pregnant with Aly, I once had to take an antibiotic.  There are only a few kinds you can take while pregnant and I won the lottery.  It was a horse pill.  And it had to be taken several times a day for many days.  The best part?  It dissolved in my mouth while I tried to swallow it.  While I was pregnant, I was pretty lucky - moderate nausea as the day went on, but if something even as benign as a toothbrush touched my tongue, all bets were off.  The dissolving pill was a bad thing.  If you've ever had the opportunity to stand on the beach with your feet on the wet sand, you probably know the feeling.  When the waves hug your feet, little trickles of sand wash away from under your foot each time.  I had that same feeling in my mouth - but it wasn't pleasant like standing on a sun warmed beach.  I could feel it eroding on my tongue while I was trying desperately to swallow the thing.  After I lost a few down the toilet, I used the trickery approach.

When all else fails, you can hide it in some mashed potatoes or pudding.  I think the hardest part for some people is getting their tongue (which is almost an involuntary muscle in my opinion) to cooperate.  Using something more substantial than liquid can help trick your body into relaxing.  It needs to be something smooth so you don't have to chew it.  Big enough to fit the pill inside, but not so big that you're going to gag on it.

Good luck! 

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