Pain on swallowing

Oesophagitis is defined as the inflammation of the oesophagus, which causes pain when swallowing. It occurs due to the proximity of the oesophagus to the lung, especially during radiotherapy treatment. It usually occurs progressively and lasts until a few weeks after finalizing treatment. Depending on the pain that appears when swallowing, we differentiate between mild oesophagitis and severe oesophagitis, therefore the texture of food must be adapted according to each situation. In any case, the medical staff should be notified of the feeling of pain when swallowing in order to consider taking medication to control the pain.


It is recommended to drink about two of water, herbal teas, non-acidic fruit juices, broths, or jellies every day.


  • Alcoholic beverages, coffee, carbonated drinks and other acidic or irritating soft drinks (cola drinks).
  • Acidic foods (tomato, raw pepper, kiwi, lemon, orange, strawberry, tangerine, mango, pineapple, vinegar, pickles…).
  • Very spicy, seasoned, or salty foods.
  • Dry or hard foods (crusty bread, toasted bread, breadsticks, nuts, rusks, dried fruits, dry biscuits, crisps, dry or very mature cheeses, and battered or gratin type cooking).
  • Sticky foods (such as mashed potatoes, croquettes, bananas, chocolate, etc.).
  • Fibrous foods such as some grilled meats, artichokes, or asparagus.

Choose small-volume meals and foods with high nutritional value. Try to maintain intake and remember the importance of ensuring a complete and sufficient diet.

  • When it is mild:
      Preferably eat foods with a soft texture (casseroles, soups, creams, puddings, soft cheeses, ripe and sweet fruits, overcooked pasta and rice, very tender fish and meat).
      Cook foods until soft and accompany them with sauces, broths or juices, especially drier foods. Preparing meats and vegetables in a pressure cooker will help to achieve softer and more tender textures.
      Cut the ingredients into very small pieces and chew slowly.
  • In severe cases, the texture of most solid foods and preparations should be modified by blending them directly.
How to adapt food to a blended texture
Eating blended food does not mean giving up the pleasure of eating or giving up our usual food and flavours. Almost all standard dishes and food preparations can be adapted to a mashed or puréed texture. Therefore, it is not always necessary to prepare specific preparations for the person who has to eat food in a puréed texture. The most common and typical dishes in our diet, such as salad, grilled chicken, potato omelette, paella or spaghetti with tomato sauce, can be adapted with very little difficulty, thus allowing the whole family to continue eating the same food but only changing the texture.
Almost any dish can be adapted to a shredded texture. To do this, the following aspects must be taken into account:

  • Know which dish it is:
      Make sure it has been stored properly and is in perfect condition to be consumed.
      Make sure that it does not contain solid elements that can make it difficult to crush.
  • Visualize how the best adaptation can be made (if it contains elements that give it consistency, if it has liquid to grind or not, in what way you want to grind, etc.).
  • Remember that in general it is better to heat the dish to be able to grind it more easily.
  • Remember that proteins are essential during the treatment of cancer, therefore, despite crushed food, you must ensure that purees include meat, fish or eggs or vegetable protein sources, both at lunch and at dinner.
    When eating shredded it can be more difficult to finish the dish, as the homogeneous texture and color can be boring. Therefore, it is important to try to mix different textures or consistencies and colors, and avoid very large volumes. It is recommended to make a single grind, of about 300 ml at most (a medium bowl), or two small grinds, dividing the volume, simulating a first and a second course.
    Table to learn how to adapt common dishes to crushed textures
    Base preparation Ingredients needed to adapt it Procedure for making a shred
    Soup and stewed meat none
    • Bone the meat and crumble it.
    • Divide the boiled vegetables: add one part to the meat and potato, and the other to the boiled pasta.
    • Grind the meat with the vegetable and potato and add enough broth to make an optimal shred.
    • Mash the pasta with the remaining vegetables and add the necessary broth.
    Potato and onion omelette Broth or milk
    • Grind everything with enough broth or milk to make an optimal grind.
    Chicken lasagna Chicken broth or milk
    • Grind everything with enough broth or milk to make an optimal grind.

    Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
    To have breakfast
    • Bread without crust with grated tomato and slices of avocado.
    • Crushed seasonal fruit.
    • Crushed biscuits with milk.
    • Smashed banana
    • Single dish: stewed lentils.
    • Custard.
    • Pumpkin Cream
    • Natural yogurt.
    • Soft beans and mashed potatoes.
    • Grilled bluefish with lemon sauce.
    • Ripe fruit macedonia.

    Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
    To have breakfast
    • Crushed whole grains with milk.
    • Crushed seasonal fruit.
    • Crushed biscuits with milk.
    • Crushed seasonal fruit.
    • Mushroom cream.
    • Minced pork marinated with pineapple.
    • Seasonal fruit puree.
    • Mashed tender beans and potatoes.
    • Minced salmon with lemon sauce.
    • Fresh fruit puree.

    More information and recipes can be obtained from the Practical Guide to Ground Gastronomy prepared by the Alicia Foundation.