Swallowing difficulty is the inability to swallow foods or liquids with ease. People who have a hard time swallowing might choke on their food or liquid when attempting to swallow.
Difficulty swallowing medical term is dysphagia. This symptom isn’t really always a sign of a medical condition. In reality, swallowing trouble might be temporary and go away on its own.
Problem swallowing is normally the outcome of damage to the esophagus, clog of the esophagus, or bad function of the nerves and muscles that control swallowing. Discover possible causes of trouble swallowing based on particular aspects.
What Causes Swallowing Difficulty?
Problem swallowing might come from an obstruction in the throat such as trapped food, a swollen throat, or medical conditions that cause the esophagus to become swollen.
A swollen tongue or swelling in the esophagus can likewise cause difficulty in swallowing.
The following can likewise cause difficulty swallowing:
- dry throat
- allergic reaction
- swollen tongue
- swollen tonsils
- esophageal reflux disease
Inning accordance with Mayo Center, there are 50 sets of muscles and nerves used to assist you swallow. To puts it simply, there are lots of things that can fail and lead to problems swallowing.
Types of Difficulties Swallowing
Swallowing trouble falls under 3 groups: esophageal, oropharyngeal, and unknown.
Esophageal dysphagia is the sensation that something is stuck in your throat. This condition is caused by:
- spasms in the lower esophagus (scattered convulsions or failure of the esophageal sphincter to unwind).
- tightness in the lower esophagus (due to an intermittent constricting of the esophageal ring).
- constricting of the esophagus from developments or scarring.
- foreign bodies lodged in the esophagus or throat.
- a swelling or narrowing of the esophagus from swelling or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
- scar tissue in the esophagus (due to chronic swelling or post radiation treatment).
Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by conditions of the nerves and muscles in the throat, which make the muscles weak. This makes it hard for a person to swallow without choking or gagging. The causes of oropharyngeal dysphagia are conditions that primarily affect the nervous system such as:
- several sclerosis.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- nerve damage from surgery or radiation therapy.
- post-polio syndrome.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia can also be triggered by cancer of the esophagus or by an obstruction in the upper throat or pharynx or pharyngeal pouches that collect food.
Difficulty Swallowing Symptoms
If you think you may have swallowing difficulty, there are specific symptoms that might exist in addition to difficulty swallowing.
- a hoarse voice.
- feeling that something is lodged in the throat.
- unforeseen weight-loss.
- coughing or choking when swallowing.
- pain when swallowing.
These feelings may cause an individual to avoid consuming, avoid meals, or lose their appetite.
Children who have trouble swallowing when consuming may:
- refuse to eat certain foods.
- have food or liquid leaking from their mouths.
- spit up during meals.
- have difficulty breathing when consuming.
- drop weight without trying.
How Is Swallowing Difficulty Diagnosed?
Speak to your doctor about your symptoms when they began. Your doctor will do a physical examination and look at your tonsils to check for irregularities or swelling.
More customized tests may be had to find the precise cause.
A barium X-ray is often used to inspect the inside of the esophagus for abnormalities or obstructions. During this assessment, you will swallow liquid or a pill containing a color that appears on an abdominal X-ray. The doctor will take a look at the X-ray image as you swallow the liquid or tablet to see how the muscles in your throat function. This will help identify any weaknesses or abnormalities.
An endoscopy may be used to check all areas of your esophagus. During this assessment, the doctor will place a really thin flexible tube with an electronic camera attachment down into your esophagus. This allows the doctor to see the esophagus in information.
Another invasive test called a manometry can be used to check the within your throat. More specifically, this test checks the pressure of the muscles in your throat when you swallow. The doctor will place a tube into your esophagus to measure the pressure in your muscles when they agreement.
Treating Swallowing Difficulty
Swallowing troubles might improve on their own without treatment.
However, if swallowing issues are persistent, they can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, specifically in the very young and elderly, and reoccurring respiratory infections and goal pneumonia. All of these complications are serious and dangerous and should be treated definitively.
If symptoms are moderate and periodic, your doctor might show you exercises used to assist enhance the muscles in your throat. He or she may likewise show you swallowing techniques, which will help you to swallow the food without choking.
If your swallowing issue is brought on by a tightened esophagus, a procedure called esophageal dilation might be used to broaden the esophagus. During this procedure, a small balloon is positioned into the esophagus to widen it. The balloon is then removed.
If there are any irregular developments in the esophagus, surgery might be required to remove them. Surgery might also be used to get rid of scar tissue.
If you have acid reflux or ulcers, you will be offered prescription medication to treat them.
In severe cases, you may be confessed into the medical facility and provided food through a feeding tube. This unique tube goes right into the stomach and bypasses the esophagus. Liquid diets might likewise be essential up until the swallowing trouble improves. This prevents dehydration and poor nutrition.