Swallowing pills isn't always easy: up to 40 per cent of American adults, and plenty of children, have difficulty. Special cups and techniques can help, tricking you into gulping the pill down with your drink. Photo by Carsten Schertzer.
One of these cups is the Oralflo, which looks like a sippy cup: you fill it with whatever drink you like, then drop your pill into a holder in the spout. Take a drink, and the pill comes along for the ride. If carrying a special cup around isn't your style, try the Easy Flow Pill Swallowing Aid, which is just a pill holder that pops onto the top of a bottle.
Unfortunately, it may be a bit tricky to get your hands on these in Australia. Here are a few techniques for pill swallowing that might work instead:
- Tilting your head forward: This works for capsules, because they float. Tilt your head forward (chin down) before swallowing. The capsule floats to the back of your mouth.
- The "toilet bowl" technique, an old standard: fill your mouth with water, then drop the pill in. This works best for pills that sink.
- The pop-bottle technique: place the pill on your tongue, and seal your lips around the mouth of a bottle. Suck in a big swig of the drink.
- Lube it up with butter: Just what it sounds like.
The problem is often mental, the New York Times reports: we just aren't used to swallowing solid items without chewing them. In that case, pediatrician Tanya Altman suggests training yourself by rolling up a piece of bread into a pill shape. It's soft, so the anxieties about swallowing a pill often don't apply. From there, you can try bigger pieces of bread, or work up from small to large pieces of candy.
Can't Swallow a Pill? There's Help for That [New York Times]