If you have difficulty swallowing foods or liquids, then you may have a condition known as dysphagia. Dysphagia occurs when it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia is sometimes accompanied by pain as well. And in more severe cases, you may not be able to swallow at all.
What Causes Dysphagia?
There are a wide range of causes that may lead to dysphagia, including:
- A problem in the esophagus, such as an ulcer, narrowing of the esophagus, or cancer
- Muscles in your mouth, throat, or esophagus that are not functioning properly
- A nervous system problem, such a stroke, that results in your mouth, throat, or tongue to not function properly
- Objects or food lodged in your throat or esophagus
- For children, dysphagia may occur due to premature birth, low birth rate, nervous system problems, or cleft lip or palate
Symptoms of Dysphagia
There are many symptoms of dysphagia, including:
- Chest pain or pressure when swallowing
- Choking or coughing when swallowing
- Vomiting after eating or drinking
- Unexpected weight loss
- Frequent heartburn
- Aspirating foods or drinks when swallowing
Additionally, infants or children may experience the following symptoms:
- Breastfeeding issues
- Food or liquid leakage from the mouth
- Repeated swallowing
- Coughing or gagging during feeding or meals
- Inability to coordinate breathing with eating or drinking
- Frequent respiratory infections
How is Dysphagia Diagnosed?
Dysphagia is diagnosed by a gastroenterologist in Thousand Oaks and your doctor will perform a medical examination, along with a variety of tests. The tests may include a barium swallow x-ray, and upper endoscopy, or an esophageal muscle test.
How is Dysphagia Treated?
Treatments for dysphagia vary based on the type and cause of the condition. Some treatments include:
- Esophagus dilation
- Diet modifications
If you or your child are experiencing dysphagia, it is important to consult with a dysphagia specialist in Thousand Oaks as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for dysphagia treatment in Thousand Oaks.