Also known as dysphagia, “difficulty swallowing” is generally a sign of problems with either your esophagus or your throat. Dysphagia is more common in babies, the elderly, and individuals with brain or nervous system disorders, but anyone can have difficulty swallowing at any time.
There are several reasons why the throat or the esophagus might not function correctly. Some are minor while others are more serious health conditions. If you or a member of your family only experience difficulty swallowing a few times, you don’t need to worry, as this is likely not a major medical problem. However, if this happens frequently it may be a warning sign of a serious issue that needs to be addressed by your health care provider.
There are two kinds of conditions that could possibly be causing difficulty swallowing. One involves the nerves and muscles that move food from the throat and esophagus. If these structures are not functioning properly, your swallowing problem could be the result of:
The second cause involves something blocking your esophagus or throat due to:
Difficulty swallowing can be transitory, mild, severe, and it often worsens over time (called a progressive disorder). If you experience accompanying symptoms and signs, you should see one of our throat specialists as soon as possible. The symptoms and signs include:
A throat specialist can evaluate and treat you for difficulty swallowing. Depending on the severity of your individual health condition, he or she may refer you to a GI specialist or neurologist. Some of the procedures and test the doctor may perform include:
Naturally, treatment for your condition will depend on the cause. Some of the solutions and options we offer for dysphagia include:
Difficulty swallowing is seldom caused by a cancerous tumor or serious neurological disorder. However, if the problem does not resolve itself within a short time, you should consult one of our competent, specially trained throat specialists. The doctor can offer you a solution to your symptom.
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