Counties Manukau Health ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL)
Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)
If you find it difficult to pass food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach, you may have a swallowing disorder or dysphagia. Symptoms may include: a feeling that food is sticking in your throat, discomfort in your throat or chest, a sensation of a ‘lump’ in your throat, coughing or choking.
A disorder may occur in any part of the swallowing process such as the mouth, throat, oesophagus (food pipe that takes food to your stomach) or stomach.
Causes of dysphagia include: the common cold, gastro-oesophageal reflux, stroke or a tumour.
Diagnosis may be by Barium swallow x-rays or by viewing the pharynx, oesophagus and stomach using a small, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end (endoscope) that is inserted down the back of your throat.
Treatments for dysphagia depend on the causes, but may include:
- medication – antacids, muscle relaxants or medicine to slow down stomach acid production
- changes in diet and/or lifestyle
- surgery e.g. stretching or releasing a tightened muscle
- stratgeies and swallowing advice from a Speech Language Therapist