What Causes Swallowing Problems?
When swallowing, food or liquid passes through your mouth and into a part of your throat called the pharynx. From there, it travels through a long tube called the esophagus. It travels from there into your stomach. This movement is made possible by a series of actions from your muscles in these areas. If you have dysphagia, the muscles don’t work properly. You may not be able to swallow normally.
When you breathe, air also enters your mouth and pharynx. From there, it travels to your lungs. Normally, a flap called the epiglottis blocks food particles and liquid from going into your lungs. If something does enter your lungs, it’s called aspiration. You are much more likely to aspirate if you have dysphagia. Aspiration is a serious problem. It can lead to pneumonia and other complications.
Swallowing Evaluation and Treatment of Symptoms
You may need a swallowing evaluation if you are having any of the following symptoms:
- Food or liquid sticking in your throat
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Breathing problems that seem to originate in your throat
The Risk of Dysphagia
Various health problems can lead to it. Some examples are:
- Severe dental problems
- Conditions that decrease saliva (such as Sjogren syndrome)
- Mouth sores
- Parkinson disease or other neurologic conditions
- Muscular dystrophies
- Blockage or nodes in the esophagus (such as from cancer)
If you feel you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms attributed to swallowing, contact us for an assessment.