A medical term for difficulty in swallowing is dysphagia. People experiencing this condition struggle to consume particular food and beverages; some can’t eat.
Common signs include;
- Choking while having something to eat
- Continuous drooling of saliva
- Unable to chew the food
- A gurgly, wet-sounding voice while eating
For some people, dysphagia indicates weight loss and chest infections.
Causes of dysphagia
The leading causes of dysphagia are other health conditions, such as:
- Head injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cancer – mouth cancer or oesophageal cancer
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
Children can also have dysphagia due to a learning disability, such as cerebral palsy.
When to consult the doctor
See your doctor as early as possible since initial treatments can help to prevent more severe conditions like oesophageal cancer.
Remedy typically relies on the cause and type of dysphagia you go through. A cure is always a mark of questions, but you can improve it with careful management.
Treatments for dysphagia include:
- Particular exercises and techniques dealing with speech and language therapy
- A safer way to swallow is to make the food followable and consistent.
- Tube feeding through the nose or stomach
- Surgery to broaden the esophagus by stretching it or inserting a plastic or metal tube
Untreated dysphagia can sometimes lead to further worsening of problems.
- Coughing or choking might lead to chest infections, like aspiration pneumonia, a condition of urgent medical treatment
- Dysphagia results in neglecting to eat and drink appropriately due to a fear of choking, leading to malnutrition and dehydration
- Struggle with swallowing can even stress you out because you can not enjoy what to eat
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022