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Doo you have Dysphagia? Do you often choke or cough while swallowing food? Do you take more time than others to chew or swallow your food? Is the swallowing process painful for you? If yes, then you possibly have Dysphagia, or swallowing difficulties.
You may not have faced such problems before as swallowing problems are common in older people. However, dysphagia may occur at any point in life. Eating too fast or not properly chewing the food may cause swallowing difficulties occasionally. In case of persistent dysphagia, it is better to seek medical help.
People who have this condition may face problems swallowing certain foods or liquids. In extreme cases, people may not be able to swallow food at all or have to cut it into smaller pieces to avoid swallowing difficulty.
Esophageal dysphagia: After you start swallowing the food, you may feel that the food is not passing down the throat. Instead, it seems as though it has stopped in your chest.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia: Your throat muscles may become weak due to a certain condition, thereby causing swallowing difficulties. You may frequently choke or gag while swallowing, or sense that the food is going up to your nose or down the windpipe. Oropharyngeal dysphagia may lead to pneumonia.
The signs that suggest you are likely to have dysphagia include:
Swallowing difficulties may be a result of several medical conditions interfering in the swallowing process. Some of the problems that may cause dysphagia are:
To devise the best treatment plan for your swallowing difficulties, your doctor may perform certain physical exams and tests to find the root cause. Besides CT scan and MRI, you may undergo:
Cineradiography/ Barium X-ray: The X-ray requires the patient to drink a barium solution. After that, the surgeon threads an X-ray machine with a camera in the patient’s esophagus.
Manometry: The purpose of this test is to evaluate the esophageal muscle contractions while swallowing.
Upper Endoscopy: The surgeon inserts an endoscope into the esophagus that captures the images of the internal structure. The doctor may collect tissue samples (biopsies) of the esophagus to check for a possible esophageal stricture, inflammation, or tumor.
If you are facing dysphagia due to neurological disorders, the doctor will recommend some swallowing therapies and modification in the diet. Sometimes, in extreme dysphagia, the doctor may suggest feeding tubes for the patient.
For the swallowing difficulties because of the esophagus, the doctor may prescribe medicines or go for a surgical procedure.
Whether you have minor swallowing difficulties or severe dysphagia that requires surgery, make sure to seek the help of the best surgeons. We, at Lenox Hill Surgeons, use the cutting edge treatments and have expertise in minimally invasive surgery.
Contact us today to book an appointment.
LENOX HILL SURGEONS