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Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a swallowing condition in which foods or liquids do not easily pass down the esophagus, and often occurs if the esophagus walls thicken; causing a narrowing (stricture) of the passage.

 

Dysphagia can be caused by any of the following:Dysphagia

  • A problem in the esophagus, such as an ulcer, stricture or cancer
  • Muscles in your mouth, throat or esophagus that don’t work correctly
  • A nerve or brain problem (such as a stroke) that leaves your mouth, tongue or throat muscles weak or changes how your muscles coordinate

 

Common Symptoms:

  • Feeling chest pressure or pain when you swallow
  • Choke or cough when swallowing
  • Vomit after eating or drinking
  • Aspirate (inhale into the lungs) foods or liquids when you swallow
  • Have fatigue and weight loss

 

Treating Dysphagia

Your doctor may prescribe medications to neutralize or reduce stomach acids and control esophagus muscle spasms.

Esophagus dilation is a procedure that your doctor can use to widen the esophagus. It is most often done when a stricture is causing your dysphagia.

Your doctor may suggest you have an evaluation or sessions with a speck or occupational therapist. These specialists in dysphagia may give you exercises and instructions to help you eat safely.

 

Eating Tips:

  • Eat slowly in a relaxed setting
  • Don’t talk while you eat
  • Sit in an upright position during and after meals
  • Ask your doctor about any special diets that may help, such as liquid diets
  • Thicken liquids with milk, juice, broth, gravy or starch to make swallowing easier

Suburban Gastroenterology