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Proper digestion of food is a must that requires smooth swallowing from the mouth to the stomach through the throat. Many a times this process becomes difficult or just impossible because of problematic throat or the esophagus (the muscular tube meant for moving foods and liquids from the mouth to the stomach). Difficulty in swallowing is common when we eat too fast or do not chew the food in proper manners. But if the problem continues for many days and prolonged periods, doctor should be consulted for proper treatment.  

Dysphagia can occur at any age but the elder people and babies are more prone to this problem. It is common amongst the persons that suffer from nervous disorders.

Symptoms – Those affected with Dysphagia usually suffer from pain during swallowing the food. One may feel that food has stuck in the throat or in the chest. Hoarseness and drooling are also the symptoms of this disease that may result in regurgitation, i.e. bringing the food back upwards. Stomach acid and frequent heartburns are also the signs of Dysphagia that may result in coughing or gagging during swallowing. Loss of weight and the need to cut the food into smaller bites may also the signs of this ailment.

Causes – Number of factors are responsible for Dysphagia. Weakened muscles in the wall of the esophagus may be behind this ailment that can occur because of diffuse spasm too. Narrowed stricture may create hurdles for swallowing large pieces of food. Esophageal tumors may also create difficulty in swallowing the food. The throat may be blocked due to some foreign substances in it. GERD may also be responsible for Dysphagia. Scar-like tissues may also cause this disease that can occur because of radiation therapy too. Neurological disorders or damages may also result in Dysphagia that may occur because of certain cancers too. Aging may also be responsible for this problem.

Treatment – Timely proper treatment of Dysphagia is a must otherwise it may lead to respiratory, loss of weight, malnutrition and dehydration etc. The doctor usually conducts barium X-ray and visual examination of the esophagus. FEES, i.e. Fiber-optic endoscopic swallowing evaluation may also become necessary in certain cases of Dysphagia. Few patients may be required to undergo CT or MRI scan or PET.

Candidly, treatment of Dysphagia depends upon its underlying causes. Doctors may recommend prescription oral medicines including corticosteroids. These are helpful in relaxing the esophagus and decreasing painful sensations. Esophageal dilation may become necessary in certain cases of Dysphagia that can be treated with surgery to clear the esophageal path. Patients may be recommended to stick to certain exercises that help in re-stimulating the nerves. Swallowing may become easier by learning certain techniques to place the food or positioning the body and head in proper postures. Feeding tubes and special liquid diets may be necessitated in certain cases of Dysphagia. One should abstain from alcohol, caffeine or poor diets. Good eating habits like taking the food in smaller quantities and proper chewing also work wonders.

 

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