The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes the difficulty with swallowing as the feeling that food or liquid is stuck in the throat or at any point before the food enters the stomach. This problem is also called dysphagia. Swallowing is the process of ingesting foods or liquids in the mouth and ends when they arrive in the stomach. If there are any interruptions with this process, swallowing difficulties can occur.
What Causes Swallowing Difficulties in Plano, TX?
Swallowing difficulties are generally categorized into two classes – oropharyngeal dysphagia and esophageal dysphagia. Oropharyngeal dysphagia refers to difficulties that affect the mouth or upper throat when swallowing. Esophageal dysphagia refers to difficulties with the esophagus when swallowing.
Common causes of oropharyngeal dysphagia:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Drug-induced dry mouth
Common causes of esophageal dysphagia:
- Blockages within the esophagus
- Esophageal cancer
- Lower esophageal rings (Schatzki’s rings)
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
- Motility problems like achalasia, nutcracker esophagus, esophageal spasms
Swallowing Difficulty Symptoms in Plano, TX
Common symptoms of swallowing difficulty are:
- Feeling of food being stuck in throat
- Coughing or gagging when swallowing
- Sour taste in mouth
You may find that certain types or temperatures of various foods and beverages can cause swallowing difficulty as well. Sometimes simple dietary changes can alleviate swallowing issues.
When Should I see a Doctor for Swallowing Difficulty in Plano, TX?
Experiencing swallowing difficulties can be alarming and sometimes painful. Generally if you have recurring or frequent problems with swallowing you should see your doctor. Also, if trouble with swallowing is accompanied by weight loss or vomiting you should see your doctor right away. Swallowing difficulties can be an indicator of an underlying medical issue. Therefore, it is important to be evaluated by your doctor to allow them to assess the cause and develop a treatment regimen.
Seek emergency assistance if you ever have a situation where you feel that you have an interference with breathing. If you have ingested food that is causing difficulty with swallowing, you should go to the nearest emergency medical center or call 911 for emergency assistance.
Tests and Treatments for Swallowing Difficulty in Plano, TX
The treatment for swallowing difficulty depends on the cause of the problem. Different tests can be used to help with diagnosis.
- Oropharyngeal videofluoroscopy (OPV) is an xray study where a patient swallows contrast and food of different consistencies while being monitored by a speech pathologist and radiologist. This can be helpful to diagnose upper throat swallowing and muscular problems
- Barium swallow
- Esophageal motility study
- Endoscopy or EGD is often the most definitive test, which is not only diagnostic but can also be therapeutic. During endoscopy biopsy samples can be obtained as needed and if a problem like stricture or ring is found often esophageal dilation can be performed at the same time