What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing, you may feel like food and/or drink is getting stuck when eating and drinking.
This can be involuntary, or it can be voluntary; for example, if you make yourself sick.
You may feel food or liquid sticking in your throat, or in your chest (oesophagus) after swallowing, causing discomfort and sometimes pain. Swallowed food or liquid may eventually go down, or can be regurgitated if they just won’t go down. You may also find yourself coughing or choking when eating and drinking.
How do we diagnose Dysphagia?
It’s important to find out the causes of your regurgitation. These tests could give you the information you need:
• Oesophageal manometry – which measures the function of your oesophagus (food pipe)
• Pharyngeal manometry – which measures the function of your upper oesophageal sphincter and muscles in the pharynx (throat)
What causes dysphagia?
There are several possible causes of dysphagia. Understanding yours can be the first step towards taking control of your symptoms.
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
• Hiatus hernia, when part of your stomach moves up into your chest
• Achalasia, a blockage of the valve at the end of the food pipe
• Pharyngeal dysfunction, a problem with the function of the muscles in your throat
• Some neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy
• Previous stroke or head/neck injury