Life hack: How to swallow a pill more easily

Swallowing pills might seem like a simple act but a recent study has shown that many adults find it to

Swallowing pills might seem like a simple act but a recent study has shown that many adults find it to be difficult. This can be because of both physical and mental issues so we have come up with some tips to help overcome this common challenge:

  • Tilting your head forward: Put a capsule on your tongue, take a sip of water but don’t swallow, tilt your chin toward your chest, swallow the capsule and water while your head is bent
  • 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.
  • The “toilet bowl” technique: More of a classic technique, fill your mouth with water and just drop the pill in. Works best for heavier pills that sink.

The challenge of swallowing pills is likely to be due to anxiety and negative associations. The New York Times also reports that swallowing items without chewing them is what creates the mental challenge, it is something that we are just not accustomed to. One other suggestion is to practice using pill shaped pieces of bread. The softness of the bread can take away the anxiety about swallowing.

  1. I am the biggest sook when it comes to taking tablets….anything bigger than a pinhead fills me with anxiety….well not quite a pinhead but always anxious.

  2. Don’t DO IT! can b DEADLY! Toxic! Try the Health FOOD store! FUN! 😉 PRO Biotics! A must!

    • Ah another self medicator…tell me what remedy can i get from the “health” food store to control ventricular tachycardia.

    • Plus Mary Lou the controls on health food shop pills and potions is nowhere near as rigorous as it is with scripted pharmacuticals.

    • Health shop pills are completely useless for so many illnesses. Parkinson’s sufferers, for example, have to have prescribed Parkinson’s medication to function. Their bodies can freeze or go into uncontrollable tremors without it. That means they can’t walk, talk, eat or do anything at all for themselves.

    • It’s a case of caveat emptor. Do not believe EVERYTHING that a practitioner of any sort tells you. In this age of access to information, being uninformed is inexcusable.
      Also learn to use ALL the tools in the box, under supervision of your chosen health practitioner.

  3. For years an old mate of mine would take one pill at a time followed by a sip of water. It wasn’t until we were away together on a trip and he saw me put five pills in one hand pop them in my mouth and have a drink of water that he asked if it was all right to take them all at once. So I had a look at his pill packs and they were no restrictions so I said “Yep, why not”. So now he does. No one had ever told him it was OK. Yes I know there are pills to take so many minutes prior to food there are other which must be taken with food and there are those to be taken so many minutes after food.

    Which prompts me to ask the question “how well do you communicate with your GP and/or pharmacist?” “How do you know you are doing it the correct way?” B|

  4. Yvonne  

    For larger tablets: place tablet on tongue, take mouthful of water and tip head back before swallowing. The opposite to taking a capsule

  5. Yes you can take the same pills day after day but every so often one gets stuck in the back of you throat …oh yuk.

  6. Taking pills used to be like bungee jumping. I’d stand at the sink with a glass of water in one hand and a pill in the other waiting for the courage to take the plunge and there were always numerous false starts. I realised what a hopeless wuss I was whenever I watched my Mother take numerous pills several times a day, including a HUGE fish oil capsule once a day. She had Parkinson’s, was confined to a wheel chair and had trouble eating, swallowing and at different times during the day couldn’t talk. I don’t take pills very often, but now when I do, I think of dear Mum and just swallow.

  7. I started having problems swallowing pills a couple of years ago. I would choke and they would get stuck in my throat. Fortunately I don’t have to take that many. I crush one and empty the capsules of another med into a glass & add some water. I can swallow really little ones. It’s apparently common when you get older for your swallowing reflex to be affected. My sister, who used to work in a nursing home, told me this. I’ve even nearly choked on a piece of meat so now I make sure I chew it properly and only have tiny pieces at a time.

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