The professional nurse feeding an older lady

Swallowing is an automatic bodily response which is a complex and critical process essential for eating and social contact. It can be defined as a series of highly coordinated muscle movements that control the mouth, the back of the throat (pharynx), and the feeding tube (esophagus). Swallowing difficulties can be caused by a loss of nerve or muscle coordination, as well as infections and malignancies.

Because some swallowing issues can be life-threatening, it’s critical to acquire an accurate diagnosis. Swallowing issues can be caused by a variety of illnesses, thus treatment must be tailored to the individual. Based on the severity of your symptoms and how they influence your quality of life, your doctor will devise a treatment plan. There are thickening gels specifically intended for persons who have trouble swallowing. One such product is simplythick: it can be used to thicken any hot or cold drink, including water, coffee, and juice. This makes life easier for people with swallowing difficulties.

Swallowing problems might have a variety of causes that aren’t related to sickness. Large bites of food, insufficient chewing, dry mouth, medicines, or excessively hot food are all examples. When chatting, laughing, or lying down, swallowing is also challenging.

Here are the most common swallowing orders briefly explained.

Esophageal Dysphagia

Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food or liquid being regurgitated or lodged in the chest, as well as any throat discord that causes coughing or choking when swallowing. There are several reasons this can occur. These include foreign bodies, GERD, esophageal stricture, esophageal motility disorder, tumors, spasms, esophagitis, achalasia, and radiation therapy.

Odynophagia

Odynophagia is a condition that causes pain in the throat or chest after swallowing. There is no one reason for odynophagia, nor is there a single treatment method. This is because it can be linked to a variety of underlying health issues including cancer, candida infection, GERD, HIV, and ulcers.

Dysphagia and odynophagia can occur together and they may share similar underlying causes. You may, however, experience swallowing issues without experiencing any pain. If this is the case, you are most likely suffering from dysphagia alone. Alternatively, odynophagia can produce pain without causing difficulty swallowing.

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia

When your throat muscles become weak, it becomes difficult to transport food from your mouth into your neck and esophagus when you try to swallow. When you try to swallow or experience the sensation of food or fluids flowing down your windpipe (trachea) or up your nose, you may choke, gag, or cough. This could result in pneumonia.

Common causes of oropharyngeal dysphagia include neurological disorders like muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, neurological damage from a stroke or injury to the brain or spinal cord, Pharyngoesophageal diverticulum(a tiny pouch that forms and gathers food particles in your throat, generally right above your esophagus), and some cancers and their treatments.

On your own, it can be difficult to connect symptoms to a specific disorder. A skilled gastroenterologist is uniquely qualified to assist in the diagnosis of all sorts of swallowing difficulties. If left untreated or undiagnosed, swallowing difficulties can lead to malnutrition, weight loss, and dehydration; pneumonia caused by aspiration; or choking that can be fatal if no one intervenes with a successful Heimlich maneuver.