What is dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)?
Dysphagia, also known as difficulty swallowing, is the inability to swallow foods easily. When you have dysphagia, it can feel like you have to work extra hard to swallow, and it may even be painful. Persistent trouble swallowing normally indicates an underlying issue with the esophagus, mouth, or pharynx. Some causes of dysphagia include:
- Acid reflux and GERD
- Neck and throat masses
- Thyroid disease
- Neurological conditions (like stroke and ALS)
If you have been experiencing recurrent swallowing problems, please reach out to Cross Timbers ENT. Our specialists uncover the cause of dysphagia and provide treatment options for North Texas patients.
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How is dysphagia identified and treated?
To diagnose dysphagia, your ENT professional will assess your symptoms and medical history, and an endoscope may be used to check your throat. Other diagnostic tests may include a barium swallow (esophagogram) test or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES). From there, a personalized treatment plan will be created based on your diagnosis. If you have thyroid disease or a neck or throat mass, surgery may be needed. If the probable cause of dysphagia is acid reflux or GERD, we will start medications to reduce the reflux. For swallowing disorders linked to neurological conditions, you may need to work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and start swallowing therapy. Your therapist can teach you special exercises to help coordinate the muscles and stimulate the nerves involved with swallowing.
see a doctor for dysphagia
If you deal with persistent trouble swallowing that affects your daily life, it's probably time to visit a specialist. The experts at Cross Timbers ENT provide patients with relief for dysphagia through innovative techniques and treatments. We offer convenient appointment times at our offices in Arlington, Mansfield, and Midlothian, TX. Schedule your visit today.