Swallowing is so simple to a majority of people. However, an estimated 15 million people in the United States suffer from dysphagia, or trouble swallowing.

What are the Kinds of Dysphagia?

There are two kinds of dysphagia:

  • Esophageal Dysphagia – Esophageal dysphagia is caused by the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, being damaged. Common symptoms of esophageal dysphagia include:
    • Weight loss
    • Lack of interest in food
    • Pain in the chest after swallowing
    • Excessive coughing in the middle of the night
    • Nausea after swallowing
  • Oropharyngeal Dysphagia – Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by an abnormality affecting the throat or mouth. Symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia include:
    • Taking a long time to chew food
    • Getting food stuck in the throat often
    • Drooling
    • Weight loss
    • Lack of interest in food
    • Difficulty breathing while eating
    • Frequent coughing while eating

Treatment Options for Dysphagia

Treatment options for dysphagia depend greatly on the type of dysphagia you are suffering from and what is causing the dysphagia. Common treatment options for dysphagia include:

  • Exercises for swallowing muscles. These often include retraining muscles to work together to help you swallow.
  • Changing your diet. Your doctor may give you specific foods you are able to eat that make swallowing easier.
  • Medicines. If your dysphagia is related to GERD or heartburn, your doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus.

If you believe you may have dysphagia, consult Dr. Ganc.