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Eating Issues After TBI

Comments [7]

Janet Brown

Ask the Expert: Eating Issues After TBI
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What advice can you offer someone who is having problems with eating as a result of a TBI?


After a significant brain injury, problems with eating, drinking, and swallowing are not uncommon. Even mild difficulties can be embarrassing in social situations. More severe problems can pose serious health risks. Ask your doctor to refer you to a speech-language pathologist if you have not had a thorough evaluation for this problem. Meanwhile, here are some risks and issues to be aware of:

  • You may dribble food or have trouble chewing if the muscles in your mouth are weak.
  • You may cough or choke due to weakness or poor timing when you swallow.
  • Liquids may be harder to swallow than solids because they run down your throat too fast.
  • If food or liquid go into your airway instead of your stomach, you can get pneumonia.


Click here to go to About Ask the Expert.

Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLPJanet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP, Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP spent twenty years in practice at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. She is the current director of Health Care Services at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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Comments [7]

It has been 8 yrs since my tbi incident and still don't have a "shut off" when it comes to food.  I can't taste food so well and I just keep eating and eating and eating.  I lost my taste, senses for salt and spices, and sugary things taste so sugary? My appetite is is like I don't have one, but I eat anyway just to.  so I eat and eat and eat.  Crazy!


Jul 5th, 2016 10:48am

Getting to grips with the issues that arise after my injury is weird. I don't know how else to describe it. Right now I hate eating at school because some people mock me for my issues. Aside from that, my appetite is still there, and my sense of taste and stuff, but I suppose the big issue is the dribbling, if only because it's embarrassing. I even feel awkward in front of my house mates even though they don't comment or stare. I've been a lot more self-conscious since I got hurt because of things like this but eh...

Mar 5th, 2016 4:25pm

Just last week was the 2 year mark of my 'accident' from which I received TBI. I have no taste, no smell and impaired eyesight. Something I can't explain is the phantom smell of burning I get. I have no memory of anything except for a truck coming toward me which came back to me some months after leaving hospital. Interestingly there were no witnesses and I was left not breathing til I was found.

Sep 22nd, 2015 7:10pm

I lost my taste buds and have no appetite. Lost 7 pounds since my accident which was 6/21/15.

Aug 6th, 2015 8:17pm

I have lost my sense of taste in a lot of food. All citrus is bitter & I can't eat a lot of things I use to because it tastes terrible.

Jul 7th, 2015 9:48pm

My brother has a tbi and he has lost his appetite to for the last 14 years, he's also lost his sense of smell, and he doesn't eat bread anymore.

Jul 2nd, 2015 12:17pm

I lost my appetite completely and it never returned. I now eat out of social convention.

Jun 3rd, 2015 9:42pm

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