Why can’t you stop/cancel a swallow after you start one?

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Pretty much every other bodily action I can think of is under your control and you can forcefully stop it on command, like yawning. What prevents you from re-opening your throat until after you’ve completed the act of swallowing in its entirety?

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6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you swallow, your body closes the windpipe to prevent you from choking.

If you stopped the swallow, jothing would stop you from aspirating whatever was being swallowed.

You do not want this power, and natural selection had a good reason, so to speak, to make sure you don’t have it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Theres a flap in the throat that prevents liquid and debris from getting into the lungs when you eat and drink. If you could open the throat and breathe mid swallow, you’d probably end up with some type of chronic pneumonia or possibly drown yourself. Its a “safety” of sorts.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Theres a flap in the throat that prevents liquid and debris from getting into the lungs when you eat and drink. If you could open the throat and breathe mid swallow, you’d probably end up with some type of chronic pneumonia or possibly drown yourself. Its a “safety” of sorts.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you swallow, your body closes the windpipe to prevent you from choking.

If you stopped the swallow, jothing would stop you from aspirating whatever was being swallowed.

You do not want this power, and natural selection had a good reason, so to speak, to make sure you don’t have it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Swallowing is typically devided into different phases: the oral, pharyngeal and oesophageal phase. The oral phase is when when you place whatever is supposed to be swallowed (food, water, medicine and saliva) in your mouth. The oral phase include masticating, lubrication and forming the food into a uniform unit that is easy to transport, called a bolus. The oral phase is a voluntary process which means you control the necessary muscle work to form the bolus, meaning this phase can be prolonged for as long as required.

The pharyngeal and oesophageal swallowing phases are not voluntary – they are suppressed by the oral phase for as long as transportation isn’t yet necessary. These two phases are executed by a complex and highly coordinated automated muscle work which you can’t control voluntary, which primarily has to function to protect the entrance to the windpipe (glottis) from bolus entering the airways (bolus aspiration/penetration). To efficiently protect the windpipe (trachea), as others have pointed out a flap (epiglottis) is lowered above glottis, the entire voice box (larynx) is also elevated and moved forward in order to protect the windpipe. These are just a few physiological processes occuring more or less simultaneously that protects the windpipe in the involuntary phases. In summary the reason why you can’t interrupt the involuntary phases is because that would increase the risk of bolus penetrating the glottis into the windpipe.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Swallowing is typically devided into different phases: the oral, pharyngeal and oesophageal phase. The oral phase is when when you place whatever is supposed to be swallowed (food, water, medicine and saliva) in your mouth. The oral phase include masticating, lubrication and forming the food into a uniform unit that is easy to transport, called a bolus. The oral phase is a voluntary process which means you control the necessary muscle work to form the bolus, meaning this phase can be prolonged for as long as required.

The pharyngeal and oesophageal swallowing phases are not voluntary – they are suppressed by the oral phase for as long as transportation isn’t yet necessary. These two phases are executed by a complex and highly coordinated automated muscle work which you can’t control voluntary, which primarily has to function to protect the entrance to the windpipe (glottis) from bolus entering the airways (bolus aspiration/penetration). To efficiently protect the windpipe (trachea), as others have pointed out a flap (epiglottis) is lowered above glottis, the entire voice box (larynx) is also elevated and moved forward in order to protect the windpipe. These are just a few physiological processes occuring more or less simultaneously that protects the windpipe in the involuntary phases. In summary the reason why you can’t interrupt the involuntary phases is because that would increase the risk of bolus penetrating the glottis into the windpipe.