7 Ways to Help When a Fish Bone Gets Stuck in Your Throat

Although fish is a healthy source of protein as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, excessive care has to be taken while consuming fish. This is because of the narrow and thin bones that line the meat. Often, fish bones can get stuck in the consumer’s throat, piercing the throat in a manner that needs to be dealt with immediately. Since the bone is quite thin, it will not pass along the throat easily, and can cause irritation as well as swelling to the region. This is why immediate attention is necessary in this situation. In this article, we will go over the steps of removing the fish bone when it is stuck in the throat. Instruction will also be provided on when to see a doctor.

How to Remove a Fish Bone Stuck in Throat

There are some at-home remedies you can try in order to alleviate the throat irritation and pain brought about by a fish bone that gets stuck. You should try these remedies as soon as the bone gets stuck, and if none of these treatments work, go see a doctor.

1. Cough

The very first thing you can try is coughing. In some cases, heavy coughing can help dislodge the stuck bone.

2. Drink Salty Water

If coughing does not work, you should take a glass of lukewarm water, add a pinch of salt to it, and then drink the mixture. If the fish bone is small enough, it will be dislodged by the salt water and be taken down the alimentary canal to your stomach.

3. Ingest Marshmallows

You can also try the ingestion of marshmallows as a remedy. Fill your mouth with just enough marshmallows to make chewing possible. Only chew on these marshmallows a little bit and then swallow. The lump of marshmallows will be sticky, and once swallowed, it might be enough to take the bone down to the stomach. Make sure you drink water after this. Similarly, you can rely on a piece of bread and peanut butter to provide stickiness that is similar to that provided by marshmallows. Alternatively, if there is sticky rice available to you, take a spoonful of it and swallow it without chewing. Be careful not to ingest too much of it, or you might risk choking.

4. Drink Olive Oil

Another thing you can try is to soften the fish bone stuck in throat. In a glass of water, boil a handful of olives. Drink the liquid while it is warm, so that the bone can be softened and possibly taken down the esophagus. You can also try drinking warm olive oil to provide lubrication.

5. Try Banana

Take some banana and keep it in your mouth for a few minutes until it moistens. Make sure you do not chew it! Once it is moist enough, slowly swallow it. The stickiness of the banana may attract the fish bone and if it does, the bone will easily be taken down to the stomach.

6. Drink Vinegar

Some people suggest drinking diluted vinegar to soften and even dissolve the bone. The success of this method has yet to be reported widely, but this is still worth trying.

7. Medical Treatment

Medical treatment to remove fish bone stuck in throat works through a series of steps.

  • Firstly, to determine the exact location of the fish bone stuck in your throat, the medical care provider may carry out an X-ray that involves ingesting a barium-based liquid. Other methods include a laryngoscopy to have a look at the back of your throat, a CT scan in extreme cases, and an endoscopy to determine the level of damage that the fish bone has caused to your digestive tract.
  • When the location is determined, using forceps will usually be the first method to remove the fish bone. Endoscopy may also be used to remove the bone in cases where forceps fail to retrieve the bone. In very rare cases, surgery may be required.
  • Once the object has been taken out, some medications may be prescribed, depending on the severity of the lodging of the fish bone in your throat.

When to See a Doctor

If the home remedies fail and your condition is accompanied by the following symptoms, you should seek immediate help from a doctor:

  • Pain when swallowing or even a sore throat vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing or breathing that is accompanied by coughs, choking or gagging
  • Pain in chest and abdomen
  • Fever

Even when the home remedies do help you remove the fish bone stuck in throat, you'd better pay close attention to the above symptoms and see your doctor if you have similar discomfort.

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