Dysphagia refers to the difficulty or inability of a person to swallow food or liquid. This condition can arise from various causes, such as insufficient chewing of food leading to muscle spasms or other underlying internal problems. Dysphagia can also manifest as a feeling of food being stuck in the throat or chest. Feel free to reach out to our specialists for further information on how we can offer solutions to enhance your quality of life.
Dysphagia can be classified into two types, each with its own unique set of causes.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia refers to difficulties in initiating a swallow. This type is commonly associated with neuromuscular issues, where the muscles in the mouth, throat, and upper esophagus have direct connections to the brain. Nerve damage can lead to complications and hinder the swallowing process. Additionally, strictures (narrowed areas in the esophagus) or tumors in the throat can also impede swallowing.
Esophageal dysphagia can stem from various causes, some of which include:
– Scarring in the esophagus due to acid reflux (GERD)
– Inflammation in the esophagus caused by acid reflux
– Weakened esophageal muscle strength
– Achalasia, a condition where the lower esophageal sphincter fails to relax during swallowing due to abnormal nerve control
– Esophageal spasms
– Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
– Blockage by a foreign body in the esophagus
If you experience dysphagia, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate management.
The most common symptoms and signs of dysphagia include:
– Inability to swallow
– The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest
– Pain while swallowing
– Unwanted weight loss
– Coughing or gagging while swallowing
– Acid reflux
– Food or liquid regurgitates through your nose
– Aspiration pneumonia
– Food impaction (food getting stuck)
– Chest pain
At The Gut Clinic UK, we offer a variety of treatment options to best meet individual needs. The most common treatments for dysphagia include:
– Learning exercises to re-stimulate nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex
– Learn different swallowing techniques
– Esophageal dilation
– Medications to reduce acid reflux, corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants
– Special liquid diet or feeding tube for severe cases
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