When Swallowing Becomes Difficult
If you are experiencing increasing difficulty in swallowing, it could be the symptom of a more serious condition. Dysphagia is the technical term for chronic swallowing problems. It can take a person who once loved food, and cause them to dread meal time. If you are experiencing dysphagia, you need to seek treatment. Sometimes even speech therapy is a part of the treatment for this affliction.
One type of dysphagia involves the esophagus. This is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. When a person suffers from this type of dysphagia, they may become malnourished since eating becomes difficult. The sufferer may lose weight and seem to have less interest in food than they did before. When a person with esophageal dysphagia tries to swallow, it can cause extreme discomfort in the chest. It may result in a cough that wakes the person up from sleep. It can also result in a person not being able to keep food down.
The other type of dysphagia is known as oropharyngeal dysphagia. While this type of swallowing disorder has many of the same symptoms, it will not cause pain in the chest since the problem is usually more in the mouth or upper throat area. Other symptoms may include drooling, food getting caught in throat frequently, frequent clearing of the throat and an excessive amount of time being spent chewing. This is often an effort on the part of the sufferer to make the food as easy to swallow as possible so as to prevent choking.
There are many different conditions that can cause dysphagia, and treatment will often depend on the underlying cause. Swallowing problems can be caused by muscle disorders, a tumor, dementia, a stroke, acid reflux, an infection, cancer or several other conditions. Surgery and muscle therapy are often needed to counteract many of these different causes for dysphagia.